The hockey world is all excited for tonight’s Eastern Conference finals Game 7 between the Capitals and Lightning. Let’s take a look back at some fun Chicago Blackhawks Game 7 memories.
While things have been quieter in Chicago Blackhawks land these past few weeks, the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been anything but silent. Tonight, the Washington Capitals will travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
This will be Tampa Bay’s third time in four years that they will be playing in a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals. The first time, three years ago, the Lightning beat the New York Rangers 2-0 to advance to their second Stanley Cup Final in team history.
This got me thinking about that team they would meet in the Finals who had their very own Game 7 win in their Conference Finals that same year. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to go back down memory lane and recall the seven Game 7 victories the Blackhawks have had in their history.
April 15, 1965 – Black Hawks @ Red Wings
Many fans will remember the most recent Game 7 against Detroit, but the first franchise Game 7 victory came in 1965 at the Detroit Olympia. After trailing 3-2 in the series, the Black Hawks came back to Chicago with star players like Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Pierre Pilote, and Phil Esposito, looking to put some goals up against the Red Wings. They would step up and score 4 goals, while Glenn Hall blanked the Wings, earning the 4-0 win at home and setting up the definitive Game 7.
In Detroit, the Black Hawks were able to edge the Red Wings 4-2 in Game 7, earning their first win in a Game 7 in franchise history. The win would lead to another Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens, which the ‘Hawks would ultimately lose 4-0.
May 2, 1971 – Black Hawks vs. Rangers
Six years after their first Game 7 victory, the Black Hawks found themselves in another Game 7 in which the winner would go on to play Montreal in the Stanley Cup Final. After Bobby Hull won Game 5 in overtime to give the ‘Hawks a 3-2 series lead, the team failed to close the series out in Game 6 in New York in a game that lasted three overtimes. The Black Hawks would play Game 7 on their home ice in Chicago Stadium.
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Bobby Hull once again played hero, scoring the game winning goal in the third period of Game 7 in a game the ‘Hawks ultimately won 4-2. Tony Esposito held the Rangers to 2 goals in a 36 save effort and the ‘Hawks returned to the Finals to face the Canadiens once again.
Just like 6 years prior, the Black Hawks and Canadiens would play to a pivotal Game 7 with the Stanley Cup on the line and the Canadiens once again prevailed. Another Game 7 Stanley Cup Final loss was painful enough, but this one included squandering a 2-0 lead, Esposito surrendering a goal from over 60 feet away, and the game winner coming with less than three minutes to play.
April 16, 1990 – Blackhawks vs. North Stars
After failing to close their Divisional Semi-Final series out in Game 6 in Minnesota, the Blackhawks returned to Chicago Stadium looking to keep their season alive. Trailing 1-0 after the first period, two Blackhawks would light the lamp twice in the second period to put the team in position to move on to the next round.
24 year-old Wayne Presley, who had a less than stellar regular season in which he only potted 6 goals, scored two goals (his fourth and fifth of the series) a minute and six seconds apart early in the second period to tie the game and give the ‘Hawks the lead. Not to be out-done, 20 year-old Jeremy Roenick added his own two goals just over a minute apart at 12:41 and 14:06.
Check out some of the Game 7 highlights here (Game 7 starts at 35:20):
The win would set the ‘Hawks up with a matchup against the St. Louis Blues, which leads us right into the next Game 7 win.
April 30, 1990 – Blackhawks vs. Blues
Just like the series before it, the Blackhawks were unable to close out their opponent away in Game 6, and the Blues and Blackhawks came back to Chicago Stadium to decide who would play the Edmonton Oilers in the Conference Finals.
This one was not close. Jeremy Roenick scored twice in a Game 7 for a second time that postseason before the first period had even ended, giving the ‘Hawks a 2-0 lead at intermission. Goals by Steve Larmer, Denis Savard, and Dave Manson gave Chicago a 5-0 lead midway through the game.
The Blues would eventually put two goals up, but the ‘Hawks even beat them in the second half of the game, scoring three times for an 8-2 final score. The game included 51 penalty minutes and helped fuel a division rivalry that continues to this day.
Do yourself a favor; sit back, relax, and watch the beat down of the Blues in late April of 1990. It’s beautiful. (Game 7 starts at 32:14):
May 19, 1995 – Blackhawks vs. Maple Leafs
After falling behind 2-0 with two home losses in their opening Quarter Final matchup against Toronto in 1995, the Blackhawks would rattle off three consecutive wins to take the series lead. The ‘Hawks would lose in overtime in Game 6 in Toronto, setting up a Game 7 at the United Center in Chicago.
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Denis Savard opened scoring just past the midway point of the first period, but a Dave Andreychuk power play goal with under three minutes in the period had the two teams knotted 1-1 at intermission. Eric Weinrich would score the loan second period goal with under three minutes to play in the period and the ‘Hawks were 20 minutes away from moving on.
Goals 26 seconds apart by Joe Murphy and Patrick Poulin gave Chicago breathing room in the third and Murphy would score an empty-netter with ten seconds remaining to seal a 5-2 Blackhawks win.
The Blackhawks would eventually go on to lose in five games in the Conference Finals to the Detroit Red Wings and would fail to get that far in the playoffs again for another 14 years (when they would once again lose in five games to Detroit in 2009).
For a few highlights, check out the video below (Game 7 starts at 8:54):
May 29, 2013 – Blackhawks vs. Red Wings
Arguably the greatest game in recent Blackhawks memory, Game 7 came about after the ‘Hawks had fallen behind in their second round series 3-1 to their rival, the Detroit Red Wings. The final season of Detroit playing in the Western Conference, ‘Hawks fans dreaded an early exit after a year in which the team set a record for most games to begin a season without a regulation loss (24 games).
But after a 4-1 win in Game 5 at the United Center and three third period goals for a come-from-behind win at Joe Louis Arena in Game 6, Chicago and Detroit’s seasons came down to a Game 7.
Patrick Sharp scored early in the second period and the ‘Hawks entered the third period 20 minutes away from the Western Conference Finals, but a Henrik Zetterberg goal just 26 seconds into the third period tied the game up.
Niklas Hjalmarsson appeared to have the game winner with under two minutes to go in the game, but the play had been blown dead prior to his shot on coincidental minor penalties. Kyle Quincy was penalized for roughing when he threw Brandon Saad to the ice along the Red Wings bench and Brandon Saad was penalized for, I guess, being thrown to the ice.
Later revealed, Jonathan Toews told his teammates in the locker room between regulation and overtime that they will just have to win the game twice, and the Blackhawks did exactly that. Just over three minutes into overtime, Dave Bolland slammed Gustav Nyquist against the boards in the neutral zone and freed the puck up for Brent Seabrook.
Skating with the puck with no one around him, Seabrook entered the Detroit zone and fired a wrister that bounced off the skate of Niklas Kronwall and beat Jimmy Howard high. The goal sent the United Center into a frenzy and kept the Blackhawks on their playoff journey, which would end a month later in Boston with the team’s second Stanley Cup victory in four seasons.
Reminisce and get goosebumps all over again with those Game 7 highlights:
May 30, 2015 – Blackhawks @ Ducks
Two years after the thrilling OT Game 7 win against Detroit and a year after a devastating Game 7 loss in the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings, the Blackhawks found themselves in another Game 7 with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
After falling behind 3-2 in their series against the Anaheim Ducks, the Blackhawks returned home in Game 6 and dominated for a 5-2 win to force a Game 7 at the Honda Center in Anaheim. A series in which the early games had been controlled by Anaheim, the second half of the series was dominated by Chicago. The trend would not change in Game 7.
Jonathan Toews opened the scoring just 2:23 into the game and would add on a power play goal ten minutes later that had the ‘Hawks up 2-0 at the first intermission. Brandon Saad scored early in the third on a beautiful feed from Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa potted the game winner off his skate just past the halfway point of the second period.
Entering the third period ahead 4-1, knuckles got a little whiter when Corey Perry scored to make the game 4-2 with just under 10 minutes remaining. But a Brent Seabrook power play goal less than two minutes later all but ended the game and the Blackhawks would advance to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years.
The Blackhawks went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games and secure their third championship in six seasons.
Check out the highlights from the most recent Game 7 Blackhawks victory right here: