Thursday in Pittsburgh, the Ottawa Senators will not only be playing for a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, they’ll also be looking for their first Game 7 triumph in franchise history.
The Sens, in their modern form, have been around since 1992. Five times they’ve gone to Game 7. All five times they’ve lost.
Their most recent Game 7 loss came in 2012, when they fell to the Rangers in the first round.
But arguably their most painful loss came in 2003, when they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final — right where they are now — and fell to the eventual champs from New Jersey.
That 2003 Game 7 was played at home, too. And the Sens back then featured the likes of Marian Hossa, Daniel Alfredsson, Wade Redden, and Zdeno Chara. They had won the Presidents’ Trophy with 113 points in the regular season.
But after cruising fairly comfortably through the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Sens were finally beaten by a Jeff Friesen goal with just over two minutes remaining in Game 7. The Devils took the game, 3-2, then went on to beat the Ducks in seven.
Now, obviously, the 2017 Senators didn’t have anything to do with that game, or the other four Game 7 defeats.
That said, they’ll be big underdogs in their sixth try tomorrow in Pittsburgh. If they can somehow find a way to knock off the Penguins, it’ll be some kind of special victory.