The Stanley Cup playoffs have had their share of Game 7's already. In fact, the Chicago Blackhawks are the only team left in the Stanley Cup playoffs who haven't played a Game 7 until now. But on June 1, the Blackhawks will host the most veteran Game 7 team in recent memory, as the Los Angeles Kings need to win their third straight seventh game on the road to avoid an ironic collapse.
The Kings completed a 3-0 comeback against the San Jose Sharks, as well as a 3-2 deficit to the Anaheim Ducks, on the road in Game 7. This time around, the Blackhawks can complete a 3-1 comeback over the Kings by winning Game 7 in Chicago. If they do what the Sharks and Ducks couldn't -- and technically, what the Kings have already done as well -- the Blackhawks will reach their third Stanley Cup final in five years.
Chicago is seemingly back in control of this series, after erasing a third period deficit twice in a row to Los Angeles. Playing from ahead in a series really doesn't agree with the Kings, who needed to rally from a Game 1 loss and a 2-0 Game 2 hole just to trigger their three-game winning streak over the Blackhawks. But now that it has to rally from two straight losses and has to play in Chicago, Los Angeles may be back in prime position.
The Sharks and Ducks didn't have someone like Patrick Kane to stop the Kings, as he has seven points in the Blackhawks' last two wins. What's more, the Sharks and Ducks didn't have as much Stanley Cup playoff experience, or Stanley Cups to speak of in the last five years. For further good measure, those teams didn't have experience in erasing 3-1 series leads, as the Blackhawks already got from last year's second round against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Kings may be back in familiar territory in these Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Blackhawks are even more familiar to this stage. With the Blackhawks' two Cups to the Kings' one since 2010, this Game 7 may determine more than the New York Rangers' opponent in the finals. Down the line, this Game 7 may decide who holds the gold standard of this era of playoff hockey.
The big decision will start to unfold at 8 p.m. est on the NBC Sports network.