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Stanley Cup Finals Go Seven Games, Most Exciting Series in Recent Memory

The Stanley Cup Finals have reached a decisive seventh game for the first time in recent history. That game will take place Monday night at 8:00pm at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford. The game will be televised on ABC.

On Saturday, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2.

The game was defined, in many respects, by the outstanding open ice check that Scott Stevens of the Devils delivered to Ducks' captain Paul Kariya. Stevens has made similar crushing hits in previous playoff games. Among the most famous was the punishing blow he delivered to Eric Lindros, then playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the Year 2000. That check resulted in Lindros' sixth concussion in 27 months, ending Lindros' season and soon after, his entire team's.

This time, however, Kariya was able to come back into the game after a brief trip to the locker room. Shortly after he returned, he scored a goal for the Ducks to make the score 4-1. That goal was set up by RPI alumnus Adam Oates, who made a neat pass to ex-Devil Petr Sykora who fed Kariya, breaking down the left wing for the slapshot to the far post.

Oates has 4 goals and 9 assists for 13 points in the playoffs, tying him with Sykora for the Anaheim team lead.

As Kara Yorio said in the Sporting News:

Games 1 and 2 as the exceptions, those who didn't watch this series missed exciting hockey. As the players wore down, they made more mistakes. That made the play ragged and ugly at times, but it opened up the ice, creating more scoring chances.

Watch Game 7 tomorrow night to see if the Devils can win the decisive game on home ice. The last time they played a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 in 2001, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche.

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