conference finals go the distance
For the first time since 2000 and only the third time in NHL history, both conference finals are going to Game 7s. The winners will advance to the Stanley Cup Final, which begins on Wednesday in New York, Tampa or Anaheim. Home teams are 94-65 (.591) in Game 7s, including 3-0 this spring, while 40 — or 25.2 percent — of the 159 Game 7s have gone to overtime. The team that scores first is 117-42, including 2-1 this postseason.
Tampa Bay at N.Y. Rangers
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the series: The home team has won only twice, but the Rangers have never lost a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, going 7-0.
Lightning update: Tampa Bay is 6-3 on the road in these playoffs. It has given up 17 goals in three games at home in this series but only four in New York. Goaltender Ben Bishop posted a 2-0 shutout on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. In the first round Bishop made 31 saves in the Lightning's 2-0 Game 7 victory over Detroit.
Rangers update: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has won his last six Game 7s — an NHL record — posting a 0.81 goals-against average. The line of Derick Brassard, J.T. Miller and Rick Nash combined for 13 points in Game 6 (five goals, eight assists). The Rangers' semifinal series against Washington also went seven games.
Chicago at Anaheim
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
TV: Ch. 11
About the series: The Blackhawks and Ducks have traded victories for six tense games, playing six overtime periods and four one-goal games.
Blackhawks update: With its victory Wednesday, Chicago improved to 10-4 in elimination games and 12-1 in Game 6s since 2009. It is trying to reach its third Stanley Cup Final in six years. Defenseman Duncan Keith had three assists and a plus-3 rating in a game-high 28 minutes, 35 seconds of ice time in Game 6.
Ducks update: In 2013, they were eliminated by Detroit in Game 7 of the first round at home. Last season, Los Angeles routed them 6-2 in Game 7 of the conference semifinals at Honda Center. The Ducks have outhit the Blackhawks 304-219.