Reliving five exceptional Game 7 moments

Max Talbot, Steve Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky. (QMI Agency/Reuters)

Max Talbot, Steve Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky. (QMI Agency/Reuters)

John Matisz, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:11 PM ET

Wednesday night is, in two words, hockey heaven.

Three NHL playoff Game 7s are on tap, with each presenting great storylines.

Can the Kings finish the job on an improbable comeback?

Will the Avalanche's season-long puck luck run out?

Who emerges victorious from the first Rangers-Flyers Game 7 since 1974?


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With those series-enders in mind, let's look back at five exceptional moments from recent Game 7s:

1996 -- WINGS vs. BLUES

Always a clutch performer, Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman took advantage of a gaffe by The Great One in the second overtime of a Game 7.

After Wayne Gretzky -- then with the St. Louis Blues -- fumbled the puck in the neutral zone, Yzerman pounced. He bolted down the right wing before unleashing a seeing-eye slapshot that beat Blues goalie Jon Casey high on his blocker side.

The Joe Louis Arena crowd went bonkers, as Stevie Y's snipe broke a goalless game and sent his team to the Western Conference finals.

The top shelf tally has become iconic in part due to the behind-the-net camera angle used as the puck goes in.

2009 -- PENGUINS vs. WINGS

This particular year, the Pittsburgh Penguins simply could not be stopped.

Down 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final to the Detroit Red Wings, the Penguins stormed back in Game 6, winning 2-1 and forcing a Game 7.

Netminder Marc-Andre Fleury then came up huge in the dying seconds of the tiebreaker, denying Wings blueliner Niklas Lidstrom pointblank as all hell broke loose in Pittsburgh's end.

The Penguins, buoyed by two goals from grinder Max Talbot, won the deciding contest, 2-1, and claimed their first championship in 17 years. The first -- and only, so far -- of the Sidney Crosby Era.

1993 -- KINGS vs. LEAFS

With Campbell Conference bragging rights on the line and, more importantly, a date with the Stanley Cup final-bound Montreal Canadiens to be gained, this Toronto Maple Leafs-Los Angeles Kings series went the distance.

Game 7? It was a doozy.

The match was back-and-forth until the Kings scored with five minutes left to gain a 4-3 lead.

The final score was 5-4, with a Wayne Gretzky bank shot off Leafs defenceman Dave Ellet's skate proving to be the winner. The league's all-time leading scorer contributed a hat trick and an assist in the Game 7 victory.

Gretzky not only broke the hearts of Felix Potvin, Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour, but also a Cup-deprived Leafs Nation.

1987 -- ISLANDERS vs. CAPITALS

With play at its sloppiest, Pat LaFontaine ended the Easter Epic in dramatic fashion.

Seven periods into the Patrick Division semifinal's Game 7, the New York Islanders, with little energy left, rejoiced following LaFontaine's turnaround slapshot at the Washington Capitals blueline.

Hall of Famer and Islanders centre Bryan Trottier tied things up, 2-2, with five minutes left in regulation. It took nearly four overtimes before another puck crossed the goal line.

It turned out to be the longest Game 7 in NHL playoff history -- nearly 70 minutes of extra time -- and, although it began Saturday night at around 7:30 p.m., the seemingly endless match didn't conclude until the early hours of Easter Sunday.

2010 -- FLYERS vs. BRUINS

The Boston Bruins collapsed twice in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.

They blew a 3-0 series lead by losing Game 7, 4-3. Game 7 itself had another choke component to it, as the Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

Simon Gagne's goal with 7:08 left in regulation was the difference. Boston set the table for Gagne and the Flyers, taking a too-many-men penalty with under 10 minutes left in Game 7.

It's not often a team completely buckles like this, allowing the opposition to steal what seemed to be theirs.


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