If you’re an Ottawa Senators fan, you’ve no doubt woken up to the news that your team has never won a Game 7.
Over the next few days, your e-mail inbox will be filled with jokes about Joe Nieuwendyk, Jeff Friesen and Ron Tugnutt’s glove.
To make matters worse, the stat is floating out there that the New York Rangers are a perfect 3-0 in Game 7s at Madison Square Garden.
So I spent the better part of Tuesday morning trying to track down a handful of stats to give Sens fans a glimmer of hope heading into Thursday’s pivotal game. Here are seven positive stats for Ottawa for Game 7:
1. This marks the seventh time that a matchup between a No. 1 seed and a No. 8 seed has needed a Game 7. Strangely enough, the underdog has been more successful in these situations. The road team has won four of the six previous Game 7 meetings. Here’s a look at how the No. 8 seed has fared:
2011: No. 8 Chicago loses to Vancouver 2-1
2010: No. 8 Montreal beats Washington 2-1
2008: No. 8 Boston loses to Montreal 5-0
2000: No. 8 San Jose beats St. Louis 3-1
1999: No. 8 Pittsburgh beats New Jersey 4-2
1994: No. 8 San Jose beats Detroit 3-2
2. Now you must be thinking that the Rangers have the momentum after winning Game 6 and heading back to MSG for the deciding game. On two other occasions a No. 1 seed staved off elimination by winning a Game 6 against a No. 8 seed. But in both those instances, the No. 1 seed went on to lose Game 7.
You don’t often want to look to the San Jose Sharks for playoff inspiration, but this is the exception. As the No. 8 seed, they twice squandered their opportunity to win Game 6 — only to prevail in Game 7 on the road:
1999: San Jose vs. St. Louis — Lost 6-2 in Game 6, won 3-1 in Game 7
1994: San Jose vs. Detroit — Lost 7-1 in Game 6, won 3-2 in Game 7
2011: Vancouver beats Chicago
2010: Montreal beats Washington
2008: Montreal beats Boston
4. The Sens have now played every Atlantic Division opponent in the playoffs. In each instance, Ottawa came out the winner in the first-ever meeting — all of which happened in the first round:
1998: vs. New Jersey — Ottawa wins 4-2
2002: vs. Philadelphia — Ottawa wins 4-1
2003: vs. NY Islanders — Ottawa wins 4-1
2007: vs. Pittsburgh — Ottawa wins 4-1
2012: vs. NY Rangers — TBD
5. Game 7 of this series will be played on April 26 and the Sens have never lost a playoff game on this date, going a perfect 3-0:
April 26, 2007: 5-4 win at New Jersey
April 26, 2002: 2-1 OT win at Philadelphia
April 26, 1998: 2-1 win vs. New Jersey
6. Henrik Lundqvist — who has to battle the Sports Illustrated jinx — has a 2-5 record when facing elimination and he’s never won back-to-back games in this situation:
2012: vs. Ottawa — Won 3-2 on the road
2011: vs. Washington — Lost 3-1 on the road
2009: vs. Washington — Lost 2-1 on the road
2008: vs. Pittsburgh — Lost 3-2 on the road
2008: vs. Pittsburgh — Won 3-0 at home
2007: vs. Buffalo — Lost 5-4 at home
2006: vs. New Jersey — Lost 4-2 at home
7. The Rangers have only scored one even-strength goal in the last 195:07 of this series. They have needed their power play to generate the majority of their offence and that isn’t a good thing heading into a Game 7 — when referees traditionally put their whistles away. Last year’s Tampa-Boston Game 7, for example, didn’t have a single penalty called. At the most, a team could realistically expect three power plays in a Game 7. If this game is decided at even-strength, it will be to the Sens advantage.