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Overtime Game 7 NHL Semis Notes

May 31, 2017

Last Thursday, an NHL semi-final game 7 went into overtime for the seventh time, with the Pittsburgh Penguins prevailing vs the Ottawa Senators, on Chris Kunitz’ goal in the second overtime period.

Five of the previous six game 7/semis overtime winners prevailed in the subsequent Stanley Cup Final series.

Only a first year expansion team, the 1968 St. Louis Blues, qualifying for the final from a division consisting of the first six NHL expansion teams, on Ron Schock’s overtime goal, failed to win in the subsequent final.

The 1939 Boston Bruins, 1950 Detroit Red Wings, 1979 Montreal Canadiens, 1994 New York Rangers and 2014 Los Angeles Kings all “titled” after game 7 wins in the NHL semi-finals.

This might be a bit much but you know me: “M”el Hill won the ’39 semi for the Bruins in #7 OT vs the Rangers. Boston then defeated Toronto for the crown.

In 1950, Detroit’s “L”eo Reise won game 7/semis with an overtime goal vs the Toronto Maple Leafs, before the Red Wings won it all on Pete Babando’s overtime goal in game 7 of the final vs the New York Rangers. (Four years later, another Detroit player, Tony Leswick also scored in overtime in #7/final vs the Montreal Canadiens, the only other time game 7 of the final went into overtime.)

Forty years after the first overtime game seven of the semis, in by the way, the first best of seven NHL semi final (that year was also the first best of seven NHL final), Montreal defeated Boston on Yvon “L”ambert’s overtime goal in game 7 of the semis. The Habs won an incredible 15th title in 24 seasons by defeating the New York Rangers in the final.

In 1994, it was the Rangers, who won game 7 of their “semi” vs the New Jersey Devils in overtime(s) on a goal by Steph “M”atteau. New York won by one goal in game 7 of the final vs the Vancouver Canucks to claim the title for the first time in 54 years, their only one in the last 76 NHL seasons.

Twenty years later, the Los Angeles Kings’ Alex “M”artinez scored an overtime goal in game 7 at Chicago, vs the Blackhawks, to win that “semi,” before scoring in overtime of game 5/final vs the Rangers, to give L.A. a second “crown” (pun intended), in three seasons.

As you can see all 5 players that scored overtime game 7/semis goals for teams that went on to win the final have one of the two consecutive in the alphabet letters, “L” or “M,” in either their first or last names.

Additionally, all 5 of those scenarios (a team winning game 7 of an NHL “semi” in overtime and then winning the final) involved the New York Rangers, as either a semifinal or final series participant.

Finally the Pittsburgh Penguins are close to two and a half to one favorites to “indoctrinate” “the not far in the alphabet,” Chris “K”unitz in this unique, albeit, perhaps overstated, history/trivia.


Mel Hill, pictured above.

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