One Game 7 has officially been decided. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers in Game 7 on Friday to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks look to follow. The Western Conference Finals have been nothing short of dramatic with overtime games headlining the series and Game 7 is expected to be no different as the teams battle it out for the other spot in the finals.
Last year, both the Ducks and the Blackhawks experienced Game 7 losses, exiting the playoffs earlier than they would have liked. Now they have a chance at redemption as they face off once again with everyone on the line. The Stanley Cup is in sight and getting through Game 7 is the final obstacle.
"We've been through the experiences now," Ryan Getzlaf said, via ESPN.com. "We have to use them the way we need to. That's the biggest thing. I've always believed that you learn a lot from losing."
Overtime has been the main factor of this series. The Ducks technically only have one regulation loss in this postseason. It came in Game 6 which means Chicago has momentum and confidence in Game 7. The series has already featured six overtime periods and four one-goal games. Fatigue is expected to play a factor as both teams have played more hockey in this series than some first-round teams have.
Anaheim gets home ice advantage, but that has not factored in to their success in the playoffs. The team has suffered two Game 7 losses at home during the last two playoff runs. They are hoping to avoid a third one on that resume despite being crowned the Pacific Division champs three times in a row. The Ducks are hoping roster additions like Ryan Kesler pay off who was not on the team last year. He is expected to tail Jonathon Toews in the game.
Game 7 has not gone well for Chicago either. Yes, the team has two Stanley Cups in the past five seasons, but they are 1-3 in Game 7 moments. They recently lost to the Detroit Red Wings in a Game 7 back in 2013. If they are able to win the series, their roster goes down as one of the best, considering injuries have been running wild on the lineup.