Livetipsportal presents you tonight's game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Wings and Pens. This time it's for sure, the 2008-09 NHL Stanley Cup champion will be crowned tonight in what should be an exciting battle at the Joe Louis Arena.
First of all, here are a few historical facts:
- No NHL, NBA or MLB team has won the title in a game 7 away game for 30 years. Home teams of those three sports have comined a perfect 18-0 record over those three decades. Not a good news for the Pens, but they may have a little reason for hope, as the last ones who accomplished this where their neighboors of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who won the World Series against the Orioles in Baltimore back in 1979.
- If we focus only on the NHL, we have to back to 1971 before being able to find a team being crowd on opponent's ice in a game 7. It was the Montreal Canadiens who then defeated the Blackhawks in Chicago.
- Since 1939 and the instauration of the best-of-seven series in the NHL, 14 finals needed a seventh game to determine the champion. The home team won 12 of those 14 finals.
- Approximatively 85% of the teams leading 2-0 in a series win this series. And about 75% of the teams who win game 5 of a 2-2 tied series get the win aswell. Detroit had a 2-0 lead, then was tied up by the Pens to 2-2, and then won game 5.
- The Red Wings have a nearly perfect 11-1 record on home ice since the start of these 2009 playoffs.
- No team has won an away game so far in the finals. Detroit has a 3-0 record and outscored the Pens 11-2 during that process (3-1 in game 1 ; 3-1 in game 2 ; 5-0 in game 5).
- The Red Wings are a powerhouse in recent years, winning 4 titles in the past 11 seasons (97, 98, 02, 08), including last year's win against those very same Pittsburgh Penguins.
All of this loudly speaks in favor of the Red Wings.
Yes, but... Barely noone in Detroit ever played in a game 7 of the finals. In fact, noone but Brian Rafalski, who played twice in that situation. He endured a loss in 2001 against the Colorado Avalanche, before winning the Cup in 2003 against the Anaheim Ducks, both times while playing for the New Jersey Devils. The Ducks head coach in 2003 was noone else than Mike Babcock, the actual Red Wings coach. And Ducks backup goalie at that time was Ty Conklin, the actual Red Wings backup goalie.
Pittsburgh is not that much experienced when it comes to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but we still find some former Ducks of the 2003 squad. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was a defenseman for Anaheim at the time. Winger Petr Sykora was part of the Ducks too. However, he won't play tonight, due to a foot injury contracted while blocking a shot in game 6. The only other guy in Pittsburgh who played a game 7 in the finals was Ukrainian winger Ruslan Fedotenko, who scored both goals of the game 7 that lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to the title in 2004.
But the likes of Lidström, Datsyuk, Zetterberg or Osgood for Detroit, or Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury for Pittsburgh never played in a situation like that before.
However, the experience of game 7 at other stages of the playoffs could be the difference-maker for tonight. Detroit's roster experienced lots of game 7 and even had a very tough one this season in their second round against the Ducks (who look to be everywhere in this article...). On the other hand, the Pittsburgh young guns have just one game 7 in their whole career, and it was in their second round too, against the Washington Capitals. But it was a non-game. The Caps felt miserably under the pressure of the event, and the Pens went on to a trouncing 6-2 win without having to put any subsequent effort. Needless to say that they couldn't learn anything about what a game 7 really is in those circumstances. So most of them will discover what a real game 7 is at the same time that they will discover what a game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals is. Maybe a bit too much to ask for this young group, eventhough they already proved they are able to endure a lot of pressure. But in front of them, Detroit at least knows what it means to handle a game 7 pressure. They'll discover it at its supreme stage in the Finals, but at least they know what it takes to win that kind of games.
Sure, that's details. But in a such close matchup, that kind of details can be the deciding factor. Let's add the heavy historical weight, and there's no surprise on what the betting choice is.
Choice: Detroit Red Wings, with an odd of 1.90 at Betsson