Tonight, the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues face off in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. This year’s final marks the 17th time in NHL history that a Game 7 would determine the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final.
If history is any indication, the Bruins will be the heavy favorite tonight. Among the 16 prior Stanley Cup Final Game 7’s, the home team is a resounding 12-4. But the road team has taken the last two, so recent precedent may come into play. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the five best Game 7 moments in Stanley Cup Final history.
5. Fedotenko the Savior (2004)
The Tampa Bay Lightning entered the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Coming off a Game 7 win in the Eastern Conference finals, the Lightning found themselves in similar territory in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.
In Game 7 of the final, Ruslan Fedotenko stepped up big time for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He scored two goals to help the Lightning down the Calgary Flames, 2-1, and earn their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
Fedotenko’s long and successful playing career came to an end in 2016, when he announced his retirement. A two-time Stanley Cup Champion, he is still best known for his signature Game 7 performance in 2004.
4. Canadien’s Comeback (1971)
Down 2-0 in the second period to the Chicago Blackhawks, goals from Jacques Lemaire and Henri Richard tied the game heading into the third period. Just minutes into the third period, Richard scored his second goal of the game to put the Canadiens ahead for good, 3-2. The victory was sparked by a 3-0 run from the Canadiens, who became the second team in Stanley Cup history to win a Game 7 Stanley Cup Final on the road.
The Canadiens came from behind to clinch their 16th Stanley Cup, the most in NHL history at the time. The game’s hero, Henry Richard, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 and is widely regarded as one of the best players in NHL history.
3. Pete Babando’s Double OT Game-Winner (1950)
The Detroit Red Wings defeated the New York Rangers in Double OT when Pete Babando found the back of the net halfway through the second overtime period. This moment gave the Red Wings their fourth Stanley Cup title, in what is still the longest Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final history.
To this day, the 1950 Stanley Cup Final Game 7 is the only one of its kind to go to multiple overtimes.
2. Rangers Break the Curse of 1940 (1994)
The wait was finally over. After a 54-year drought, the New York Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, to win their first championship since 1940.
The Rangers 1994 victory is regarded as one of the greatest moments in New York sports history, and it was only fitting that they made history in the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden.
1. Marc Andre Fleury’s Last Minute Heroics (2009)
Probably the wildest finish in Stanley Cup Final Game 7 history, the Pittsburgh Penguins held a 2-1 lead when Marc Andre Fleury faced a plethora of shots from the Detroit Red Wings in the final seconds of the game. He saved all of the shots he faced, including a complete robbery of Detroit’s Nicklas Lindstrom with one second left in the game.
When the buzzer sounded, the Penguins were Stanley Cup Champions for the first time since 1992. Fleury is currently the starting goaltender for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who became the first team in NHL history to make the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season last year.