NHL Playoffs: Game 7 history, statistics and more

·4 min read

NHL Playoffs: Game 7 history, statistics and more originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

It’s a great time to be a hockey fan.

Game 7, the best two words in sports, is currently a major trend in the 2022 NHL Playoffs. There are three Game 7s scheduled for Saturday and two for Sunday. And we’re only in the first round.

The NHL first implemented the best-of-seven series in the 1939 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There’s a ton of history to sift through, but we got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know about Game 7s in the NHL playoffs from the last 83 years:

How many Game 7s have there been in NHL playoff history?

From 1939 through 2021, 182 playoff games have gone to a Game 7. 

Add five more to the total. In 2022, these first-round matchups will have a Game 7: Boston Bruins-Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning-Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars-Calgary Flames.

How many times have the Stanley Cup Finals gone to Game 7?

Seventeen Stanley Cup Finals needed a Game 7 to decide a champion.

They were more common in the early years of the NHL. There were back-to-back Game 7s in 1954 and 1955 and 1964 and 1965. Then there was a big gap from the early 70s to late 80s. 

Since the turn of the century, there have been seven finals going to a seventh game. The most recent occurred in 2019 when the St. Louis Blues beat the Bruins in TD Garden.

Here’s every year where the Stanley Cup Finals went to Game 7: 1942, 1945, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1964, 1965, 1971, 1987, 1994, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2019.

How many NHL Game 7s went to overtime?

Game 7s are already nerve wracking on its own, but 45 of them went to overtime. 

The longest was a 4OT game in the 1987 division semifinals between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. New York advanced with a 3-2 win. 

The second-longest game was actually the first ever Game 7. The Bruins and Rangers faced off in the 1939 semifinals, where Boston moved on following a 2-1 win. The triumph didn’t stop there, as the Bruins went on to lift the Stanley Cup.

Which NHL playoffs had the most Game 7s?

Three postseasons featured seven Game 7s, which is the most in one campaign: 1994, 2011 and 2014.

The 1994 and 2011 playoffs featured a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks to win the title in 1994 and the Bruins also defeated the Canucks in 2011. Tough luck for Vancouver.

Which NHL playoffs had the least Game 7s?

There have been 19 seasons in NHL history in which a Game 7 did not occur. There has not been one in quite some time, however, with the last one happening in 1977. 

There was also the case of 2005, a year in which there were no playoffs because of the 2004-05 lockout. But nowadays it’s more likely we’ll see a Game 7 transpire instead of none happening. 

Which NHL team has played in the most Game 7s?

The Bruins own the record for most Game 7s played in NHL history. Boston has featured in 28 of them with a 15-13 record.

The next two teams have featured in 25: Detroit Red Wings (14-11) and Toronto Maple Leafs (12-13). The Montreal Canadiens are the only other team with at least 20 appearances (24, 15-9 record).

Which NHL team has played in the least Game 7s?

Only two out of 32 teams have never played in a Game 7: Columbus Blue Jackets and Seattle Kraken. Seattle makes sense, of course, because the 2021-22 campaign was its first as the latest expansion team in the NHL. 

Columbus, on the other hand, has been around for 21 seasons. The Blue Jackets have clinched a playoff berth six times in franchise history but have never experienced a Game 7 atmosphere. 

The Winnipeg Jets (the one that relocated in 2011 after being named the Atlanta Thrashers) and Oakland Seals are the only teams with just one Game 7 under their belt. Winnipeg won its matchup while the Seals, an expansion team in 1967, lost. The Seals later relocated to Cleveland in 1976 to become the Barons, but the franchise ceased operation after the 1978 season.