The Washington Post

In NHL playoffs, you get a Game 7, and you get a Game 7, and you get a Game 7

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

You know what is better than a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs? Two Game 7s. You know what is better than two Game 7s in the NHL playoffs? Three Game 7s. You know what is better than three Game 7s in the NHL playoffs? Three Game 7s on the same day, aka a Game 7 Hat Trick (patent pending), which will happen Wednesday night for the first time since 2003.

Over in the Western Conference, the Colorado Avalanche will host the Minnesota Wild in a series that has seen a strong home-ice advantage: The home team has won each of the first six games. Also in the West, the Los Angeles Kings look to become the fourth NHL team ever to win a playoff series after trailing 3-0 when they head to San Jose to face the Sharks.

The Philadelphia Flyers evened their series against the the New York Rangers on Tuesday thanks to forward Wayne Simmonds, who had scored his first-ever hat trick in the playoffs.

“He was all over the puck,” teammate Claude Giroux said of Simmonds. “He was jumping everywhere. He was strong on the puck. When Wayne wants to win the battle he wins it. Kind of gives everybody in the room a little motivation to do the same.”

Game 7 requires the ultimate motivation: win and you move on. Lose and you go home. And there have been more opportunities to get motivated for a Game 7 as parity in the NHL has increased.

Along with that, more series are being pushed to the brink of a Game 7, especially in the earlier rounds.

“There’s nothing better than playing in those Game 7s when you’re a part of them,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.



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Neil Greenberg · April 29, 2014