Stanley Cup Final Game 7 history: Every time the NHL’s championship series went full seven games

It’s not often surprising when a Stanley Cup playoff series heads to a decisive seventh game. Parity reigns supreme in the modern NHL, to the point that any team in any playoff series can realistically feel like it has a chance.

This Game 7, however, is surprising — not because one team was believed to be that much better than the other, but because the Oilers were on the verge of being swept just days earlier. Edmonton won not one, not two, but three games to storm back and force an unlikely winner-take-all game for the Stanley Cup, putting the Panthers on the ropes for the first time in these playoffs.

Of course, it takes four wins, not three, to win the Stanley Cup Final. That elusive fourth win is up for grabs on Monday in what will be the latest of many NHL Game 7s that have determined a champion.

Here’s a complete look at the history of Stanley Cup Final Game 7s in the NHL.

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Last Stanley Cup Final Game 7

Monday’s tilt will be the first Stanley Cup Final Game 7 since 2019 when the Blues went into TD Garden and defeated the Bruins to win their first championship. Before 2019, you would have to go all the way back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and Canucks to find another Game 7.

If this year is any indication, the lack of Stanley Cup Final Game 7s in recent years might just be an anomaly. There were five Stanley Cup Final Game 7s between 2001-2009, even with an entire season canceled due to a lockout in that span.

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Parity around the NHL hasn’t declined. If anything, deep runs by lower seeds have indicated that parity is alive and well. That means the Stanley Cup Final might very well see a few more Game 7s in the years ahead.

Stanley Cup Final Game 7 history

Here’s a full list of each Stanley Cup Final Game 7 since the NHL switched to a best-of-seven format in 1939:

Year Champion Losing team Arena
1942 Maple Leafs Red Wings Maple Leaf Gardens
1945 Maple Leafs Red Wings Olympia Stadium
1950 Red Wings Rangers Olympia Stadium
1954 Red Wings Canadiens Olympia Stadium
1955 Red Wings Canadiens Olympia Stadium
1964 Maple Leafs Red Wings Maple Leaf Gardens
1965 Canadiens Blackhawks Montreal Forum
1971 Canadiens Blackhawks Chicago Stadium
1987 Oilers Flyers Northlands Coliseum
1994 Rangers Canucks Madison Square Garden
2001 Avalanche Devils Pepsi Center
2003 Devils Mighty Ducks Continental Airlines Arena
2004 Lightning Flames St. Pete Times Forum
2006 Hurricanes Oilers RBC Center
2009 Penguins Red Wings Joe Louis Arena
2011 Bruins Canucks Rogers Arena
2019 Blues Bruins TD Garden
2024 TBD TBD Amerant Bank Arena

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Stanley Cup Final Game 7s have come in waves for the NHL, as there were five Game 7s in a 14-year span from 1942-55 but just two Game 7s between 1956 and 1986.

Once the 21st century hit, parity increased considerably and the floodgates opened. There were six Game 7s in a 10-season span from 2001-11 (the 2005-06 season was canceled due to a lockout). One of those was an Oilers loss after Edmonton stormed back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Hurricanes. The Oilers are 1-1 all-time in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

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This year marks only the second Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in the past 13 seasons. The only other Game 7 since the Bruins’ 2011 win came in 2019 when Boston lost to the Blues to end a classic series.

Home teams are 12-5 all-time in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. That’s good news for the Panthers, but the recent trend is not nearly as positive. Each of the last three Game 7s have been won by the road team, with the Penguins, Bruins, and Blues all capturing titles in a hostile environment. Edmonton would like to keep that streak alive. The last road team to lose a Stanley Cup Final Game 7, though? That would be the Oilers. 

Has Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final ever gone to overtime?

Only twice has a Game 7 gone to overtime in the Stanley Cup Final: 1950 and 1954. The Red Wings would win both series, delivering heartbreak to the Rangers in 1950 and to the Canadiens four years later.

Overtime on Monday would make this year’s Stanley Cup Final Game 7 the first in 70 years to be tied at the end of regulation, and it would guarantee the first overtime Stanley Cup Final-winning goal since Alec Martinez won it for the Kings in 2014.

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