Stanley Cup Game 7 – Get The Heart Pills Ready
Two words that you never want to hear if your team is involved in it. Tonight will be the final game of the NHL season. There is no tomorrow. At about 10:45pm EST (barring overtime, God forbid) we will know who will be raising Lord Stanley’s Cup. I, myself, have been lucky enough to have gone to two Game 7’s in my life. One on the good end, and one on the bad end.
The good one was in 2003. Game 7 vs. the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. It was my very first season with season tickets and me and my friend went hoping for the best. It was one of the most nerve-wracking moments in my sports life. Every single time the opposing team entered the zone you just wanted the D to get the puck out or have Marty freeze it for a face-off. This was during the “dead-puck era” so a score of 2-0, especially the way both goalies were playing that series, seemed insurmountable. Luckily, the Devils jumped out to a two goal lead in the 2nd period. The first goal scored by Mike Rupp. I had only heard the Continental Airlines Arena loud one other time, but none before that goal. The whole arena was letting out the tension that had been building up since the drop of the puck an hour ago. And it was exhilarating. Jeff Friesen scored later and we felt in command of the game. Friesen would score one more time late in the 3rd period to set off a party like no other. When the goal snuck by JS Giguere (who shouldn’t have won the Conn Smythe *cough* Marty *cough*), my friend hugged me and screamed in my ear “WE’RE GONNA WIN THE CUP!” with a nice little adjective before CUP which I won’t print here. I’ll never forget that feeling.
The bad one was in 2009. Game 7 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. This was an entirely different series than the one against Anaheim. This was a back-and-forth battle where you really never knew who was going to win or even how they would win. There were OT wins by both sides, a last second win by the Canes, a dominant performance by Brodeur, and a blowout in the other two games. All setting up for an unpredictable Game 7. Having been through one before I knew the feeling, but for some reason this felt different. Maybe it was because in 2003 I was a season ticket rookie and I had experience now. Well the game was back and forth as you’d expect and both goalies played excellent when they needed to. I always have had respect for Cam Ward. The guy is a big game goalie. And Marty was well…Marty. The Devils took the lead midway through the 2nd on a Brian Rolston howitzer and I was ecstatic. Most of my friends that I sit with felt the same way as well. It’s the mantra every Devils fan has when they get a lead: “Great! Now trap the HELL out of ‘em!” While the Devils were holding on for dear life you just had the feeling that Carolina was going to tie it up. That’s how the series was going. And sure enough with a minute left they did just that. It stunk but the way the series had gone you weren’t surprised. What happened 30 seconds later I’ll never forget. Eric Staal shooting down the right side and beating Brodeur with 31 seconds left. Remember how I said earlier that Game 7 in ’03 was the loudest I heard the old arena? Picture the exact opposite after that goal. No one knew what to think. What just happened? I thought we were going to overtime? Feeling that kind of crushing defeat made me appreciate ’03 a lot more. I’ll never forget that feeling either.
So tonight when you’re watching Game 7 and you hear the elation of the fans in Vancouver or the deafening silence when the Bruins score (and they will…it’s Luongo), just remember that the tension those fans are feeling are the most you’ll ever feel as a sports fan. They’re going to have rug burns on their hands from gripping their towels. And you know what? They’ll all say the same thing I did after both of my Game 7’s, “I’d do it all over again.”
Just for old times sake, watch the presentation of the Stanley Cup to Scott Stevens and the New Jersey Devils in 2003.
Let’s hear some of your best and worst game 7 memories in the comment section below.
Posted on June 15, 2011, in Devils Army, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, NHL Playoffs, Vancouver Canucks and tagged Anaheim Ducks, boston bruins, Brian Rolston, Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes, Conn Smythe, Eric Staal, Jeff Friesen, JS Giguere, Martin Brodeur, Mike Rupp, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Scott Stevens, Stanley Cup Final, Vancouver Canucks. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.