NHL Game 7: Playoff History, Stats, and Facts
Which teams historically have the edge in these games?
Our look at the history of NHL Game 7 has been updated through the 2019 postseason.
Looking back at the last two Stanley Cup playoffs, 2017 and 2018, three series in each went to a Game 7. This can be the most nerve-wracking and ultimately rewarding type of game in sports: a one-off game at the end of a long series (and season) to determine a winner.
Yet, looking back at the history of the NHL Game 7, which team has the advantage: the home team or the visiting team?
Road teams can win in the National Hockey League, and often do for a variety of reasons. Home-ice advantage is not as clearly defined as in a sport like, say, baseball, in which the home team gets the final opportunity to score if needed. No doubt, the home team has a particular motivation to win a Game 7 in that they do not want to blow it in their own building in front of their fans. We will see what the numbers say in a moment.
As the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to end, we’re going to soon add another big one to this list.
NHL Game 7: The Overall Numbers
Game 7 in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs has happened 178 times in history as of June 12, 2019.
There were five Game 7s in the 2016 NHL playoffs. Furthermore, three each took place in 2017 and 2018.
The home team is 104-74 (.584) in an NHL Game 7.
There have been 44 overtime Game 7s in the history of the National Hockey League. Thirteen of them went more than one overtime. The longest of all the Game 7s was in the 1987 Prince of Wales Semifinals between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. New York won 3-2 in quadruple-OT in the “Easter Epic.” It was a 6 hour, 18 minute bout.
The Stanley Cup Finals had not gone to a Game 7 since 2011, but did so in 2019 to break the streak.
Boston has played in more Game 7s in NHL playoff history than any other team. They have appeared in 28, going 15-13, with the most recent being the finale of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.
The original Winnipeg Jets, now the Arizona Coyotes, are 0-5 all-time in Game 7. Fittingly, the new Winnipeg Jets are 1-0 as of the 2018 playoffs.
Ottawa (0-6) has the most Game 7 losses without a win.
NHL Game 7: Looking Back at 2017
The Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins (twice) won Game 7s in 2017. Anaheim was the home team for their second round win over Edmonton. Pittsburgh’s wins were on the road in Washington in the second round and at home over Ottawa in the Eastern Conference final in double overtime. The Penguins would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
Prior to winning their Game 7 over Edmonton in 2017, the Ducks had lost four straight Game 7s at home.
NHL Game 7: Looking Back at 2018
Two of the three Game 7s were won by road teams in 2018. The lone home team to emerge was Boston, beating the Maple Leafs in the first round by a 7-4 score on April 25, 2018.
Meanwhile, the two 2018 Game 7 road victors were the Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals. The latter of those teams went on to win the Stanley Cup, and for Washington, it was their win over Tampa Bay that sent them to the Finals.
All three Game 7s were blowouts in 2018, with the winning team taking it by at least three goals.
NHL Game 7: 2019 NHL Postseason
During the 2019 NHL playoffs, there were six Game 7s. The last was for the Stanley Cup, won by the St. Louis Blues on June 12, 2019.
Here is how those series went for each team:
- Atlantic Division Semis: Boston (home team) wins Game 7 against Toronto
- Metro Division Semis: Carolina (road team) wins Game 7 over Washington in 2OT
- Pacific Division Semis: San Jose (home team) takes Game 7 over Vegas in OT
- Central Division Final: St. Louis (home team) wins Game 7 against Dallas in 2OT
- Pacific Division Final: San Jose (home team) wins Game 7 vs. Colorado
- 2019 Stanley Cup Finals: St. Louis (road team) wins Game 7 vs. Boston