We’ve had some great moments in Twin Cities sports in the past decade, including a pair of WNBA titles for the Lynx and Game 163 between the Twins and Tigers in 2009. But before Wednesday, it had been 10 years since our last Game 7. Those games tend to create stronger memories because of their winner-take-all nature, and Minnesota has had its share of memorable victories in such games.
The question big question: Where does Wednesday’s Game 7 Wild victory rank among them? To answer that, I took into account both the magnitude of the game and the drama/quality of the action itself. Here’s is the ranking of the top 5 Minnesota Game 7s I came up with:
1. Twins 1, Braves 0, 10 innings, 1991 World Series Game 7: The winner and undisputed champion, pretty much for all-time. It wasn’t just the ending or the bulldog mentality we remember from Jack Morris in going all 10 innings. This was a game filled with twists and turns in a series full of twists and turns. It’s just hard to imagine anything ever topping the combination of drama and what was at stake.
2. Twins 4, Cardinals 2, 1987 World Series Game 7: I had this lower on the list initially because we don’t tend to think of the game as a timeless classic. But it had tension. The Twins trailed 2-0 early and didn’t take the lead until the sixth inning. In the seventh, the Cardinals had the tying run on third. The magnitude of the franchise’s first World Series title is obvious.
3. Wild 5, Avalanche 4, OT, 2014 first-round NHL playoffs: Am I overrating this game because it’s so fresh? After all, it was just the first round. Perhaps, but consider this: the Wild trailed in this game FOUR times, forcing overtime with less than three minutes left in regulation. The final tying goal and overtime goal were blistering shots — nothing fluky at all. Add in the drama from the rest of the series, which gave Game 7 even more weight, and I say it belongs here.
4. Wolves 83, Kings 80, 2004 NBA Western Conference semifinals: Before Wednesday, this was the most recent Game 7. In case you forgot, it was spectacular. Kevin Garnett delivered a performance for the ages (32 points, 21 rebounds). The Wolves led most of the way, but the Kings rallied late and had a chance to tie in the closing seconds before Chris Webber’s three-pointer rattled in-and-out.
5. Wild 3, Avalanche 2, OT, 2003 first round NHL playoffs: Andrew Brunette’s winning goal in overtime is a classic moment. But the series itself lacked the same aesthetic quality as this year’s battle, relegating it to the final spot in an impressive top five.