This time of year, there seems to be a great game on every single night. Between the NHL and the NBA Playoffs, there is no shortage of exciting hockey and basketball games.
Every game in a playoff series is important, but there is something special about Game 7. If a series reaches Game 7, it means that the series is tied and each team has won three games. Whichever team wins Game 7 takes the series 4-3 and moves on to the next round. Many fans believe that nothing is more exciting than a playoff series that goes seven games. It means that the teams are evenly matched and the games are usually very close.
In the NHL, two of the eight first-round playoff series are currently tied 3-3. The New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals will play Game 7 on Tuesday night; so will the New Jersey Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Whenever players talk about a Game 7 situation, they use certain terms like heart, character and determination. By the time a playoff series reaches a Game 7, the players are incredibly tired. The team that is able to try just a little bit harder to overcome this exhaustion usually wins the series.
Winning teams also have to play well under pressure. If a team plays well in a Game 7, fans remember it for a long time. In 1994, the Rangers and Devils played one of the most famous Game 7s in hockey history. The Rangers beat the Devils in double-overtime on a goal by Stephane Matteau, to win the third-round series and move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. Although the Devils played very well and won three games in that series, fans will always remember it for Matteau scoring the winning goal. In order to play well under pressure, players can't get nervous under the spotlight of the Game 7 atmosphere.
The 1994 NBA Playoffs also involved a classic Game 7 upset. In the first round of the playoffs, the Denver Nuggets matched up against the Seattle SuperSonics, the best team in the Western Conference. Nobody thought the Nuggets could beat the Sonics, but Denver surprised everybody by winning Game 7 and the series. At the time, it was called the greatest upset in NBA history. The fact that the series lasted a thrilling seven games made it all the more memorable.
Every spring, the NBA and NHL Playoffs treat fans to some action-packed series. The best of them come down to an all-or-nothing Game 7. The way things are shaping up in the first round of this year's playoffs, 2009 promises to be no different.
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