DETROIT — There’s nothing quite like a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Some of the Wings will be experiencing it for the first time when the Red Wings face the Ducks in Anaheim Sunday night.
For others, it’s not their first rodeo.
Captain Henrik Zetterberg, who scored the game-winner in overtime of Game 6, has been in a few of them.
“You don’t have many chances to play a Game 7 throughout the course of your career,” Zetterberg said. “We just have to embrace it, have fun, enjoy it. It’s a special atmosphere. It’s fun to play those games. We’re looking forward to it and play like we have been, play our system and we’ll have a good chance.
“It’s do or die. It’s the last game of the series. We’ve played them six times, both teams know each other inside and out. It’s tight. There are a lot of emotions and you don’t do it often. That’s why it’s so special.”
Justin Abdelkader, who has been in a Game 7 or two, thinks it’s fun.
“I don’t think there’s anything like a Game 7,” Abdelkader said. “We’re looking forward to it and it’s going be a great atmosphere in Anaheim and I think it’s great for hockey, it’s great for both these clubs. It’s been a heck of a series, back and forth.”
The Wings will be playing a Game 7 for the 23rd time in team history. Of the first 22 games, 16 were at home and the Wings won 11 of them. On the road, the Wings are 2-4 in Game 7s.
“I’ve been fortunate to win some in Game 7 and lose some in Game 7, I’ve lost at home and won on the road,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s just a big game. We’re excited.”
Gustav Nyquist is looking forward to his first series clincher.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Nyquist said. “We’re just going to prepare the same way that we’ve done this whole series. That’s what we have to do. We know it’s going to be tight. We know it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard with their home crowd, but we’ll be ready for it.”
Carlo Colaiacovo is a veteran defenseman but he’s never been in a Game 7.
“That’s all you talk about growing up playing hockey is being in that moment of a seventh game,” Colaiacovo said. “Game 7’s always an extra bonus when you’re playing at home, the energy of the crowd to feed off of. But obviously they’re going to try to use that against us and we’ve got to weather the storm in the first 10 minutes and play good, simple hockey, try to make them play out of their comfort zone.”
Both teams have won on the road in this series so the Ducks don’t necessarily believe it guarantees them anything.
“It hasn’t really been a tremendous home-ice advantage,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I don’t think where we play is really going to matter.”
The Wings have already set a franchise record with four overtime games in a single playoff series.
It would not be a shock to see a fifth between these two evenly matched teams. According to STATS LLC, it’s only happened twice in NHL history, in 1951 in the Stanley Cup Finals between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, and in 2012 in the Western Conference finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes.
“We’re not ready to end this season right now,” Jonathan Ericsson said. “We want to go for another month or two months.”