The Bruins and their fans are no strangers to a Game 7, both this postseason (when they’ve already seen two such do-or-die contests against the Canadiens and Lightning) or even the past decade . But a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup  finals? Well that’ll be a first for anyone who has ever donned the black and gold, either on the ice or in the stands.
The NHL  as a whole, however, has seen a couple of battles for Lord Stanley’s extra-large chalice go the distance in the last few years. In fact, Wednesday’s matchup between the Bruins and Canucks in Vancouver will be the sixth Game 7 in the finals since 2000. So while the B’s, Canucks and their fans have an off-day to pause and collect themselves for the historic events to come, let us look now at the historic Game 7s that have already come to pass since the turn of the millennium. (Note: home teams are in all caps.)
2009: Penguins  2, RED WINGS 1
If you’re a Bruins fan, this may be the only good news you’ll read here. The Penguins win at Joe Louis Arena was the first victory for a road team in a Game 7 of the finals since the Canadiens beat the Blackhawks in the Windy City back in 1971. Maxime Talbot played the hero for Pittsburgh, potting both goals for the Pens in the second period. The Red Wings dominated the third frame, outshooting their foes by a 7-1 margin with one of those shots resulting in a Jonathan Ericsson goal with 6:07 left. But Marc-Andre Fleury  sent the Detroit fans home unhappy when he made an incredible diving save on an open-net shot by Red Wings blue-liner Nicklas Lidstrom just before the final buzzer (5:30 in the clip after the jump) to ensure that the Cup was headed to western Pennsylvania.
2006: HURRICANES  3, Oilers 1
The Oilers were coming off a big 4-0 win in Game 6 on their home ice to force this particular Game 7 but just couldn’t keep the momentum going. In front of what some have claimed to be the loudest hockey crowd ever, the Hurricanes jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals by Aaron Ward , assisted by current Boston forward Mark Recchi , and Frantisek Kaberle, older brother of B’s defenseman Tomas Kaberle , in the first two periods. Fernando Pisani brought the Oilers within a goal with a tally of his own 1:03 into the third, and Edmonton threatened again with a breakaway with 3:40 left in the game. But Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward  stuck out his left leg just in time to shut down current Canuck Raffi Torres (2:15 in the clip) and a Justin Williams empty-netter with 61 seconds left clinched the first-ever Stanley Cup for the Whalers/Hurricanes franchise.
2004: LIGHTNING 2, Flames 1
Tampa Bay had already lost two games at home ‘ Game 1 in a crushing 4-0 fashion and Game 5 in a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker ‘ but it wasn’t about to let that happen with the Cup on the line. Or maybe more like Ruslan Fedotenko wasn’t about to let that happen. The winger potted the Lightning’s only two goals, the second of which came on a nice feed from center Vincent Lecavalier. Craig Conroy brought the Flames close with a power-play goal in the third, but the Flames were never able to close it out for the third win in Florida. Although the low score on paper makes the game look like a goalie duel between Calgary ‘s Miikka Kiprusoff and Tampa Bay’s Nikolai Khabibulin, but in reality, the two teams combined for only 32 shots on net. By comparison, Tim Thomas  made 36 saves by himself in Boston’s 5-2 win in Game 6 of these finals. For those looking for another Bruins connection to the Lightning-Flames Game 7, current B’s blue-liner Andrew Ference  led all skaters with 23:59 of ice time for Calgary in the loss but managed an unfortunate charging minor penalty with 1:02 left in the game.
2003: DEVILS 3, Mighty Ducks 0
If the Bruins are going to take Wednesday’s Game 7, it wouldn’t hurt if Thomas took a page out of the book Martin Brodeur  wrote in the 2003 finals. (Although if Thomas wants to keep writing his own book as he had done in these playoffs, that would be fine too.) The goalie’s 24-save performance against Anaheim was his third shutout against a Mighty Ducks team that had shot five pucks past him in Game 6 and forced arguably the best goalie in NHL  history to exit earlier than he would have liked. Jeff Friesen, who played the 2010-11 season for the Berlin Polar Bears of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, scored twice for the Devils with his last goal being the one that sealed it at 3-0 with 3:44 left. Despite Brodeur’s performance in the series finale, Jean-Sebastien Giguere became the fifth player to win the Conn Smythe despite not winning the Cup after he posted a 15-6 record to go with playoffs-bests in goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (.946).
2001: AVALANCHE 3, Devils 1
It will forever be remembered as the day Raymond Jean Bourque finally got to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup. (The tearjerking moment, which you’ll want to see if you have a soul, starts at 3:40 in the clip below.) But there may even more good news to take out of this particular game and series for Bruins fans. The Avs became the first team to win the Cup after going down 3-2 in a series since the 1971 Canadiens. Since then, the 2004 Lightning and 2009 Penguins have also achieved the feat that Boston will have to do if it is to win its first championship since 1972. Alex Tanguay (two goals) and Joe Sakic (one goal) scored for Colorado in the win while Conn Smythe winner Patrick Roy stopped 25 of the 26 shots he saw.
General Game 7 notes and trends: There has been one player who has scored twice in four of the five Game 7s since 2000 with each playing for the winner. In the contemporary series, Alexandre Burrows (Game 2), Recchi (Game 3) and Rich Peverley  (Game 4) have already achieved the feat. ‘¦ Goalies have won the Conn Smythe in three of those five playoffs that saw the finals going the full seven. Their teams are 2-1 in those games with Giguere being the lone loser. ‘¦ Home teams are 4-1 in the games mentioned above and are 12-3 all-time in Game 7.