Will Game 7 earn Jets a trip to third-round heaven?

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You'll forgive fans around these parts if they don't quite know what to do with themselves when facing a Game 7.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/05/2018 (1675 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

You’ll forgive fans around these parts if they don’t quite know what to do with themselves when facing a Game 7.

After all, these kind of winner-take-all battles on the ice are a rare commodity in Winnipeg.

A quick look at the history books shows that Thursday night’s showdown in Nashville will be just the fifth such event in Jets history. There were two in the World Hockey Association days, and two more with the original version of the NHL Jets.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Winnipeg Jets' fans celebrate a goal during Stanley Cup playoff action. When the Jets play the Nashville Predators in Game 7 of their second-round series Thursday, it will a new experience for most Jets fans.

The last time fans experienced the drama was way back in 1992. And you have to travel back to 1977 for the first —and only — time Winnipeg came out on top. Yes, they have a 1-3 record in Game 7 history and will be in tough to improve on that as they take on the NHL’s No. 1 regular-season team in Nashville.

Here’s a quick — and somewhat painful — reminder of how each of those previous series played out:

• 1976-77: Beat the San Diego Mariners.

In this first-round series, the home team won every game. And that certainly benefited the Jets as they took the elimination game by an impressive 7-3 score at Winnipeg Arena.

• 1976-77: Lost to the Quebec Nordiques.

The Jets were looking to win a second straight Avco Cup championship and were coming off a dominant 12-3 win in Game 6 on home ice to force the one-game battle for glory. But the Jets were promptly steamrolled on the road 8-2.

• 1989-90: Lost to the Edmonton Oilers.

This first-round series is best remembered as the one where the NHL Jets blew a 3-1 series lead against the mighty Oilers, who went on to capture yet another Stanley Cup that spring. Edmonton had squeaked out 4-3 victories in Game 5 at home and Game 6 in Winnipeg, then pulled away with a 4-1 win on home ice in Game 7. A crushing defeat for the Jets, who could never escape the Smythe Division and were eliminated for a sixth time by the Oilers.

• 1991-92: Lost to the Vancouver Canucks.

It was deja vu all over again for long-suffering Jets fans. Once again, Winnipeg raced out to a 3-1 series lead only to fail to put the Canucks away on three different occasions. And it wasn’t really close. Winnipeg was smoked 8-2 in Vancouver in Game 5, humiliated 8-3 on home ice in Game 6 and then pummelled 5-0 in Game 7 on the West Coast.

•••

In terms of some more modern numbers, here’s a look at a few Game 7 facts for Winnipeg and Nashville.

• This will be the first Game 7 in franchise history for the Atlanta Thrashers / Winnipeg Jets, who had never won a playoff game prior to this year.

• This is the third Game 7 in Predators history, but the first played in Nashville. They beat Anaheim by a 2-1 score in the first-round of the 2016 playoffs, then lost 5-0 in San Jose in the second round that year.

• Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette is 5-2 during his career in seventh games; Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice is 2-0.

• This is the 171st Game 7 in NHL playoff history. Home teams are 100-70, while the team that scores first has gone 126-44. There have been 41 games that went to overtime, where home teams have a 21-20 record.

• Nashville has 47 games spread over 20 players worth of Game 7 experience on their roster; Winnipeg has just 13 games involving eight players.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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