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Friday, May 27, 2011

Recent history backs tonight’s NHL Game 7 winner

Despite the dominance of hockey’s top team this season, the Vancouver Canucks, the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have some history on their side for whoever wins tonight’s decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals at 8 p.m. in Boston.

The last four teams to win a conference final series in seven games all went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The winner of tonight’s Game 7 will face the top-seeded Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals. The series begins on Wednesday night in Vancouver.

Carolina was the last team to win their conference final in seven games, over Buffalo on their way to the Cup in 2006.

The Lightning also accomplished the feat two years earlier when they beat Philadelphia in seven games before winning the Cup. There are three players left on their current roster from that 2004 championship team: Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Pavel Kubina.

The New Jersey Devils defeated Ottawa in seven games in 2003 before winning the Cup, and the Detroit Red Wings beat Colorado in seven games in 2002 on its way to the Cup.

The last team to win a conference final series in seven games and not win the Cup was the Dallas Stars, who lost to New Jersey in the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals. New Jersey had also won their conference final series in seven games that postseason.