Do or die.
Play hard or go home.
Win and you're in, lose and you're out.
The basics of a Game 7. Add the seasoning of the fact that this Game 7 is between bitter Original Six rivals, then there's the sense of one tough game.
After a Game 7 series where the Canadiens rallied for a 4-3 series win in 2004 over the Bruins, Boston is looking to reverse the trend and give Montreal a taste of their own medicine. Anything can happen in Game 7, here are some of the top Game 7's in recent memory.
Edmonton Oilers @ Carolina Hurricanes - 2006 Stanley Cup Finals
Carolina 3, Edmonton 1
One of them was an 8th seeded team, the other, a team that had overcome a first round breakdown to rattle off surprising wins over Eastern conference favourites, the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. Edmonton wasn't supposed to make it that far, yet upset Detroit in 6, San Jose in 6, and Anaheim in 5 quick games before falling out in 7 to Carolina.
After being down in the series 3 games to 1, the Oilers got a boost as Fernando Pisani scored an overtime winner in Game 5 to force a Game 6. Back in "Oil Country", the Oilers came out flying and forced Game 7 with a spirited 4-0 blanking of rookie Cam Ward and Hurricanes. Yet back in Raleigh, the 'Canes were too much to handle as they captured their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Calgary Flames @ Tampa Bay Lightning - 2004 Stanley Cup Finals
Tampa Bay 2, Calgary 1
A spirited playoff run led by their fearless leader Jarome Iginla, the Flames surprised the hockey world as they finally advanced past the first round for the first time since their 1989 Stanley Cup championship. Facing off against Stanley Cup Finals newcomers Tampa Bay, the series went the limit. After the Flames took a 3 games to 2 lead and heading into a Game 6 overtime, the Flames were on the cusp of winning the Cup at home.
However, Martin St. Louis turned the momentum back in Tampa's favour with a Game 6 OT winner. Ruslan Fedotenko was the hero back in Tampa for Game 7 as he notched two goals, including the Stanley Cup winning goal.
Montreal Canadiens @ Boston Bruins - 2004 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Montreal 2, Boston 0
After a Alex Kovalev giveaway in Game 4, the Canadiens were in a hole and looking towards the golf course. However, inspired play by Jose Theodore helped the Canadiens steal a game in Boston. Still playing unreal hockey, Theodore's big save on Bill Guerin occurred in a 5-2 Game 6 win to put the Canadiens back into the series. Back in Boston, the Canadiens and Bruins went down to the wire in a tight-checking game until Richard Zednik pounced on an Alex Kovalev rebound and gave the Canadiens the series in 7, coming back from a 3-1 deficit.
Colorado Avalanche @ Detroit Red Wings - 2002 Stanley Cup Conference Finals
Detroit 7, Avalanche 0
Although a Game 7 blowout at the hands of Detroit, this series was a down to the wire series for the most part. Infamous for the save that went in by Patrick Roy, both teams swapped games until Game 7. Three games went to OT, including Games 2, 3, and 5, with Colorado winning two of the extra frame games. Detroit would go on to win the Cup that year.
New Jersey Devils @ Colorado Avalanche - 2001 Stanley Cup Finals
Colorado 3, New Jersey 1
In this historic win, Patrick Roy won yet another Cup, while Raymond Bourque captured his first and only championship. It was the final game in Bourque's storied career as Joe Sakic passed on the Cup to the long-time rearguard.
Ottawa Senators @ Toronto Maple Leafs - 2002 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Toronto 3, Ottawa 0
Another hard-fought Battle of Ontario crept up to a Game 7, where Joe Nieuwendyk proved to be the hero, scoring two goals, including the winner against Patrick Lalime and the Senators en route to a 3-0 shutout win against the Senators.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks @ New Jersey Devils - 2003 Stanley Cup Finals
New Jersey 3, Anaheim 0
An inspired and unexpected run by the Mighty Ducks in 2003 gave their goaltender JS Giguere the Conn Smythe Trophy despite losing the Cup in Game 7. After a resounding 5-2 win in Game 6 in Anaheim, the Devils came out storming the Ducks and scored quick and often on Giguere and the tired and beat-up Ducks. Michael Rupp scored the Stanley Cup winner.
New Jersey Devils @ Ottawa Senators - 2003 Stanley Cup Conference Finals
New Jersey 3, Ottawa 2
After a Game 6 OT win in New Jersey, the Senators looked set to win the Eastern Conference title in Game 7 at home. Tied at 2 with little time left in the third, Jeff Friesen pounced on a rebound and put it past Patrick Lalime for the eventual winner as the Devils would go on to win the East and the Cup.
St. Louis Blues @ Vancouver Canucks - 2003 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Vancouver 4, St. Louis 1
In the year when everyone was getting into the Game 7 act, the Canucks did it in style. After being outscored 14-4 in the first four games of the series, Vancouver game back and erased a 3-1 series deficit and got the momentum back with a 5-3 win in Game 5. They won the series with decisive 4-3 and 4-1 wins in Games 6 and 7.
Minnesota Wild @ Colorado Avalanche - 2003 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Minnesota 3, Colorado 2 OT
Another 3-1 deficit stared down the Minnesota Wild in their quarter-finals matchup with Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche in 2003. After a tight 3-2 Game 5 win and a Game 6 OT win via Richard Park's winner at home, the Wild looked to put the Avalanche out of the playoffs. It came via Andrew Brunette's OT goal at 3:25 of the first extra frame.
Minnesota Wild @ Vancouver Canucks - 2003 Stanley Cup Semi-Finals
Minnesota 4, Vancouver 2
Both teams had overcome 3-1 series deficit in round 1. After the Canucks took it to the Wild in the first 4 games, the Wild blew the 'Nucks out in Game 5 with a resounding 7-2 win. From there, the momentum shift was too great for Vancouver to overcome, losing Game 6, 5-1 and Game 7, 4-2. It was Minnesota's second 3-1 deficit erasing effort of the playoffs, yet it would be their last.
Buffalo Sabres @ Carolina Hurricanes - 2006 Stanley Cup Conference Finals
Carolina 4, Buffalo 2
After both teams swapped OT wins in Games 5 & 6, with Dany Briere's Game 6 controversial winner in Buffalo, the Hurricanes took it to the Sabres in Game 7 en route to their second Eastern Conference crown with a 4-2 win.
Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks - 2004 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Calgary 3, Vancouver 2 OT
After forcing a Game 7 with Brendan Morrison's Game 6 winner in OT, the Canucks were looking to put the Flames away at home in Game 7. With rookie Alex Auld in the net for the 'Nucks, they fell behind early until Matt Cooke scored short-handed to tie the game in the dying minutes. Yet only 1:25 into the extra frame, Martin Gelinas pounced on his own rebound and sent the Canucks packing.
Other Notable Series
Dallas Stars @ Vancouver Canucks - 2007 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Vancouver 4, Dallas 1
New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs - 2002 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Toronto 4, NY Islanders 2
Los Angeles Kings @ Colorado Avalanche - 2002 Stanley Cup Quarter-Finals
Colorado 4, Los Angeles 0
Toronto Maple Leafs @ New Jersey Devils - 2001 Stanley Cup Semi-Finals
New Jersey 5, Toronto 1
Buffalo Sabres @ Pittsburgh Penguins - 2001 Stanley Cup Semi-Finals
Pittsburgh 3, Buffalo 2