Will The King Beat Bishop? Who Will Take Game 7?

(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s the Rangers second Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and this one is bigger than the last. The Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning can both taste the Stanley Cup Final, unfortunately for one team you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Both teams have made it this far but only one team can go all the way.

What makes this Game 7 better than the rest is this series is up in the air. This game can either be a blowout for one team or a tight checking one-goal game that the Rangers are all too familiar with.

In the spirit of all things great in sports, the NHL needs two Game 7s for the first time in 15 years to determine who will face off in the Stanley Cup Final, setting up for a great finish all the way to the end.

The King Of Game 7s

The Rangers have a huge advantage on their side and that is Henrik Lundqvist. Mr. Game 7.

When it comes to being eliminated Henrik knows how to turn his game up to the next level. He has a 14-3 record with an 1.39 goals-against average and .956 save percentage with 2 shutouts since 2012 in playoff elimination games. Henrik is also coming off a 3 game elimination win streak from the second round of the playoffs against the Washington Capitals.

Lundqvist has a 6-1 record with an 0.84 goals-against average in seven career Game 7 appearances with six straight wins. He also owns a 15-3 record and a 1.47 GAA in his last 18 elimination games, including a 10-0 record at home over that stretch.

Over the course of his career Hank is 16-8 in elimination games with a 1.80 GAA and .943 SV%

But those are just numbers that look good on paper. Henrik held the opposition to 15 consecutive one-goal games throughout the first 2 rounds of the playoffs and that trend disintegrated in the Eastern Conference Final as Tampa Bay has managed to score six goals twice in this series.

Big Ben Will Stand Tall

Bishop will not be able to match Lundqvist when it comes to elimination games but he does have some bragging of himself to do. Bishop did deliver a shutout in Game 7 of the first-round against the Detroit Red Wings which then lead him to outplay a Vezina nominated Carey Price in 6 games of the second round.

“It’s just another game,” Bishop said about Friday’s Game 7. “It really is. Obviously there is a little more on the line, but it’s just another game.” Bishop seems calm, cool and collected despite being pulled in game 6.

Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL, NHL Playoffs
Ben Bishop picked a good time – Game 7 – to record his first career NHL postseason shutout. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

This isn’t just another game and that is what will separate Bishop from Lundqvist. This is the game that decides if your team will be one of the final two facing off in the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers have already taken away a 3-1 series lead from the Capitals in Round 2 which should set some sort of concern throughout the Tampa locker room.

Bishop has also allowed five goals in three of his past four appearances. That’s 15 goals on the last 104 shots he’s faced. An .856 save percentage.

“He’s going to respond in Game 7,” Killorn said. “He has done that all year.”


Rick Nash was the Rangers leading scorer all season long but has found himself under the spotlight in another post season. Nash delivered throughout the regular season with a team leading 42 goals. Over the last three years, Nash is eighth in the NHL in goals (89) and fifth in goals per game (0.47). Over the last three playoffs, in 53 games, Nash has scored six goals; one in 2013, three in 2014 and three this year.

Nash had three goals in 25 games last postseason.

Rick Nash [photo: Amy Irvin]
Rick Nash [photo: Amy Irvin]
Nash has been “invisible” throughout this years playoffs until recent. Nash stepped up when he was needed and contributed with a goal and three assists to prevent elimination in-game 6 of the ECF.

Nash has three goals in the past three games and ranks second on the Rangers in scoring with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 18 games. Nash was silent earlier in the playoffs but now the only ones silent are his critics.

“Personally, it’s not a big deal to me. You can be the hero one night and then have a whole bunch of people after you the next. You stay level-headed, you stay on an even ground and worry about the next game and not what happened in the last one.”

All Time Game 7

Here’s a run down of how a Rangers Game 7 looks;

Here’s how a Tampa Bay Game 7 looks;

“I guess that means they’re due to lose one, right?,” kidded Alex Killorn. “But, no, I mean, they’re a team that, as we’ve seen when their backs are against the wall, they’ve played well.”

I don’t see this game being a goal scorers delight. The Rangers will cut down on their fancy plays and get down to the basics. Dump the puck in, dump the puck out. Each team will need to play smart as well and leave their emotions aside. One bad penalty can cost you the game and the series. There’s a lot to take in and I honestly believe it’s going to take some puck luck to decide this one.

You decide who has the upper hand in this one.

Will we see a Rangers-Ducks Stanley Cup Final, Rangers-Blackhawks Final or will it be Tampa guessing the answer to this question?