The Colorado Avalanche may be just two years removed from a Stanley Cup championship, but its opponent has more experience in the seventh game of a playoff series.
The Edmonton Oilers, in fact, feel as if they've just played a pair of seventh games, avoiding elimination twice by winning back-to-back games to deadlock their opening-round series at 3.
Edmonton forced a seventh game with a 2-0 victory Saturday night at home. Drake Berehowsky and Boris Mironov scored goals and Curtis Joseph had 31 saves.
Joseph ran his shutout streak to 103 minutes, 40 seconds since allowing an early goal in Game 5.
Players from both benches had to restrain their coaches at the conclusion of Game 6. Oilers coach Ron Low, furious after Avalanche coach Marc Crawford sent out a goon line in the waning seconds, made an obscene gesture to his coaching counterpart.
"Flipping the finger, that's junior stuff," Crawford said. "It was just end-of-the-game frustration."
Low also tried to downplay the incident. "I was giving him a thumbs-up," he said.
In the decisive seventh game tonight, the Oilers attempt to become the 14th NHL team to win a series after trailing 3-1.
"Our approach is the same," Joseph said. "We've already played two Game 7s in this series. This should be no different than the last two games.
"I think the pressure is strictly on them. It is in their building. We have a simple road game to try to steal. I'm optimistic."
The Oilers also learned something about seventh-game pressure in 1997. They upset Dallas in the first round, winning the seventh game on the road in overtime.
Colorado, on the other hand, has no such experience to draw from. Since moving from Quebec three seasons ago, the Avalanche has won six of seven playoff series but has not played a seventh game.