What History Tells Us About Tonight's Game 7

A look at do-or-die series finales in the Claude Julien era.


It’s all about seven tonight (May 14, or as some call it May 2×7) in Boston with the Bruins facing Montreal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The beauty of Claude Julien’s current seven-year reign with the Bruins is that there is plenty of history to look back on as the organization competes in the playoffs for the seventh straight year. Roster continuity has been fairly strong as a core of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and, of course, Zdeno Chara has been involved during all seven of those years. (Tuukka Rask has, too, but he’s been less of a significant factor in some seasons.) There have been eight Game 7s involving the Bruins during this modern run of success to look back at. So let’s see if any of it gives a hint as to how this game will go.

2008 – 5-0 loss at Montreal
2009 – 3-2 OT loss at Carolina
2010 – 4-3 loss vs. Philadelphia
2011 – 4-3 OT win vs. Montreal
1-0 win vs. Tampa Bay
4-0 win at Vancouver
2012 – 2-1 OT loss vs. Washington
2013 – 5-4 OT win vs. Toronto

The Bruins have had an overall record of 4-4, while playing in at least Game 7 each year. In games that ended in overtime, the Bruins are 2-2. The overall goal differential is also a bit of a wash, as the Bruins outscored opponents 14-7 in their four Game 7 wins, and they were outscored 14-6 in their four losses. So, in a greater-picture view of things, there’s not much to be gleaned from Claude’s Core in Game 7s.

However, if you believe in the narrative view of things, the team is 4-1 in Game 7s after they had one of the biggest choke jobs in NHL history blowing a 3-0 series lead and a 3-0 Game 7 lead at home in 2010 against Philadelphia. Since then, it’s fair to say that they’ve experienced the worst, and that’s allowed them to play a bit more fearless in Game 7s. Starting in 2011, the Bruins are 4-1 in game 7s, including an overtime win against Montreal, a Stanley Cup clincher and last year’s miracle comeback against Toronto.

So, should we trust the narrative (4-1 in last five Game 7s) or the numbers (4-4, even goal differential in Game 7s during the Julien era)? It’s hard to say, but a 50/50 chance in a Montreal vs. Boston Game 7 seems like proper odds.

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