A berth in the Stanley Cup Final will be on the line today at Honda Center when the Anaheim Ducks face the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.
“The emotions are going to be high,” Ducks forward Corey Perry said. “Everybody’s going to be jumping right off the hop. The crowd’s going to be into it. All those things you can use to your advantage.
“But you can’t go over the top of what you have to do. You still have to keep your emotions in check.”
The Blackhawks forced a seventh game with a 5-2 victory Wednesday in Chicago.
No team has won consecutive games in the series. The team scoring first has won each game.
“There’s a good chance they’ll score first,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We have to make sure we keep our composure and keep coming at the team like we’ve done all year and not go, ‘Damn, they scored, woe is me.”‘
Each of the past two Ducks’ seasons has ended with a Game 7 loss.
“This is a different team,” Perry said. “There’s different pieces to the puzzle now. We got to go out and we got to prove that.”
Chicago’s 2013-14 season ended with a 5-4 overtime home Game 7 loss in the Western Conference finals to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings.
“We have it in the back of our mind a little bit,” Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford said. “It was tough for us to take.
“But it’s a new year. I think just the excitement and the chance to move on, have a chance to win the Stanley Cup is enough for us.”
Boudreau has a 1-5 record in Game 7s.
“I don’t think about any of that stuff,” Boudreau said Friday. “Everything is its own entity. This is a new game tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”
Boudreau’s Chicago counterpart, Joel Quenneville, has a 2-4 record in Game 7s.
Home teams are 94-66 in Game 7s, a .588 winning percentage. The team that scores first is 118-42, a .738 winning percentage.
The Ducks are seeking their third Stanley Cup Final berth in their 22- season history. They lost to the New Jersey Devils, four games to three, in 2003, and defeated the Ottawa Senators, 4-1, in 2007.
The winner will face the Tampa Bay Lightning, a 2-0 winner over the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday in New York City.
The Stanley Cup Final will begin Wednesday. If the Ducks win, the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final would be played at Honda Center.
If the Blackhawks win, the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final would be played at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.