"The odds of surviving a road game in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals are approximately 14 to 2!"
Or are they? Let's take a closer look at those numbers before we clear a spot in the Joe for another Cup banner.Here are the six matchups in question since 1971:
May 30, 1987 -Edmonton (#1 Smythe) beats Philly (#1 Patrick)
June 14, 1994 - Rangers (#1 East) beat Vancouver (#7 West)
June 9, 2001 - Colorado (#1 West) beats New Jersey (#1 East)
June 9, 2003 - New Jersey (#2 East) beats Anaheim (#7 West)
June 7, 2004 - Tampa Bay (#1 East) beats Calgary (#6 West)
June 19, 2006 - Carolina (#2 East) beats Edmonton (#8 West)
In 4 of the 6 occasions, the road team was not merely an underdog but a Cinderella story -- a plucky but inferior team facing off against a heavily-loaded #1 or #2 seed. The 2-0 record in #1-vs-#1 games is relevant, but not intimidating.
Now, there's no doubt that home ice is an advantage in a one-game playoff. The home team controls line changes, faceoffs, and gets an emotional lift from the friendly crowd.
But it also helps when the home team is a star-studded juggernaut and the road team is a doormat who happened to hit a hot streak in April and May.
"Never tell me the odds!"
So, Pens fans, don't despair when the folks at NBC run the 12-2 graphic and keep talking about the 6-game streak. You're facing nothing more than a 1-2 streak over the past 38 years for legitimate contenders playing a 7th game on the road.
For a shot at immortality, those are pretty good odds.