Lightning have been here before
The Lightning are playing Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals for a second straight year, having won 2-0 at the New York Rangers last year. Elias Sports Bureau research shows that the Lightning are joining the Colorado Avalanche (in 1999 and 2000) as the only teams in postseason history to play Game 7 on the road in the round before the Stanley Cup finals in consecutive years.
If they win, the Lightning will be the second team in the past 30 years to reach the Stanley Cup finals in the year after losing in it, joining the 2009 Penguins. That year, the Penguins knocked off the Detroit Red Wings after having lost to them the previous year.
Defenseman Anton Stralman is one of six players in NHL history to win seven consecutive Game 7s. The others are Brad Richards (8-0), Marian Gaborik (7-0), Red Kelly (7-0), Mike Richards (7-0) and Justin Williams (7-0). The only players who have earned more career Game 7 victories than Stralman are Richards, Glenn Anderson and Ray Bourque, each with eight.
This is the second Game 7 between the Lightning and Penguins. The other was in the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, won by the Lightning on the road 1-0. Victor Hedman is the only Lightning player from that game who has played in this current series.
The Lightning had a 3-2 lead this series. They are 4-0 all-time in series where they have held 3-2 leads.
Penguins have struggled in this position
The Penguins are 2-7 at home in Game 7s, having lost four in a row in that position since their last win, in the 1995 conference quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals. The Lightning are 5-1 in Game 7s (.833), trailing only the Minnesota Wild (3-0) for the best Game 7 win percentage all-time.
Penguins rookie goalie Matt Murray has won 10 games this postseason. Elias notes that since the NHL went to four best-of-seven playoff rounds in 1987, he’s the sixth rookie goalie to win 10 games in one postseason.
The Penguins have won 11 straight games in which Sidney Crosby has scored. He’s had the game-winning goal in all three Penguins victories in this series.
How they reached this point
The Penguins have outshot the Lightning in all six games in this series and have outshot them for the series, 230-161.
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has allowed at least three goals in all five starts in this series. But his adjusted save percentage (adjusted for quality of shot) is .931, best of any goalie in the conference finals.
Game 7 facts
Home teams are 96-69 (.582) all-time, including a 2-2 mark in 2016.
The team that scores first is 123-42 (.745) all-time, including a 4-0 mark in 2016.
About one-fourth of the Game 7s have required overtime (40-of-165, 24 percent). Home teams and road teams have split those games 20-20. Eight of the 40 have been decided in double overtime, one in triple overtime and one in quadruple overtime.
Note: Statistics on the teams’ 5-on-5 performance were deleted from an earlier version of this post.