Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Monica McAlister on 04/30/14 at 11:59 AM ET
Tonight is the night that the first round of the NHL playoffs will officially be over. Three Game Sevens slated tonight after the New York Rangers fell to the Philadelphia Flyers last night; a game in which Wayne Simmonds scored a hat trick himself.
The three game sevens tonight marks the fifth time in NHL history (and first time since April 22, 2003) that three or more Game Sevens will be contested on the same day and marks the fourth consecutive year that at least three Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series have extended to the full seven games.
First up tonight the New York Rangers will host the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) made 19 saves in the contest, and now has a 3-3 record in the playoffs. The Rangers goalie appeared in his 73rd career playoff game, including his 72nd consecutive playoff contest, moving into sole possession of 26th place on the NHL’s all-time playoff appearances list. Lundqvist is four games shy of passing Mike Richter for first on the Rangers’ all-time playoff appearances list.
- Cam Talbot (NYR) stopped all five shots he faced in his NHL playoff debut.
- Wayne Simmonds (PHI) scored his first playoff hat trick to force tonight’s Game Seven.
- Four of the Rangers’ last six playoff series have gone to seven games. The Blueshirts have a 6-5 record in Game 7s in franchise history, including a 5-0 record in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden.
For the first time in 40 years, the long-time division-rival Rangers and Flyers will meet in a Game 7. On May 5, 1974, the Flyers defeated the Rangers 4-3 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia to win their Semifinal series and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. Two weeks later, the Flyers became the first expansion team to claim the championship in a six-game triumph over Boston.
The Rangers have suffered just one Game 7 loss in the ensuing 40 years, posting a 6-1 record that includes a perfect 5-0 mark at Madison Square Garden and three Game 7 wins in the past two years.
Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. EST on NBCSN
After the Rangers and Flyers settle their differences (in regulation let’s assume) switch over to CNBC at 9:30 to catch division rivals Minnesota Wild visit the Colorado Avalanche for the final time this season.
After a rough season last year Avalanche fans are right back to playoff form with a new mantra and a team led by former Avalanche great Patrick Roy now behind the benches they could shape up to be the Cinderella story of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.
- Minnesota and Colorado played a Game Seven one other time in 2003 where the Wild defeated the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime – it was the final game for now head coach Patrick Roy.
- This series is the only series in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs that has seen neither road team win when on the road.
- Colorado fell short in Game Six with the return of Matt Duchane from injury; however, you can expect to see him back in the lineup now that they are home in the Pepsi Center for Game Seven.
Looking to stay up late?
Game Seven in a Battle of California will see the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks starts at 10:00 p.m. EST as the Kings will try to become the fourth team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to overcome a 0-3 series deficit.
Pretty much sums it up for those fans and staffers involved in any of tonight’s games:
Get ready Hockey fans tonight will be a big night no matter which way the ice slants.
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