The NHL season has been paused because of concerns about the coronavirus, and NBCSN will try to fill the void by reliving some of the best games and moments from the past 12 years.
“Hockey Week in America” starts Monday at 3 p.m. ET with 12 hours of programming each day. Monday will feature four of the best Game 7s, starting with the Washington Capitals against the New York Rangers from the 2015 Eastern Conference Second Round. The network will also air Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Final between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks at 5 p.m. ET, Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference First Round between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins at 7 p.m. ET, and Game 7 of the 2019 Western Conference First Round between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks at 9 p.m. ET. The Maple Leafs-Bruins game will be rebroadcast at 11 p.m. ET, and the Kings-Blackhawks game will be shown again at 1 a.m. ET Tuesday.
NHL.com asked three of its writers to pick their favorite game from among the field each day:
Dan Rosen, senior writer
I’ll take Game 7 between the Kings and Blackhawks. Los Angeles defenseman Alec Martinez scored at 5:47 of overtime on a wrist shot deflected by Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy. This game, like this series, had it all, including comebacks, multiple lead changes and late-game heroics. The Kings won Games 2, 3 and 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. The Blackhawks won Game 5 in the second overtime, and then mounted a third-period comeback to win Game 6. In Game 7, it was Los Angeles’ turn to rally: Chicago took a 2-0 lead, but the Kings tied it before the Blackhawks went ahead 3-2 after the first period. Each team scored in the second before forward Marian Gaborik tied it for the Kings at 12:43 of the third. I was set to fly to the city of the winning team the next day to cover the Stanley Cup Final but didn’t know if it would be Los Angeles or Chicago. When it ended up L.A., I recall tossing an extra pair of shorts in my suitcase that was already fully packed.
Amalie Benjamin, staff writer
Back in 2013, I wasn’t yet a hockey writer. I had covered the 2011 Stanley Cup Final for The Boston Globe, but my hockey forays had been limited mostly to features. I didn’t know it yet, but that summer I would become a full-time hockey writer. So, though I had the TV tuned to Game 7 between the Bruins and Maple Leafs, I wasn’t 100 percent paying attention, especially when the Maple Leafs went ahead 4-1 at 5:29 of the third period. But I stayed with it and watched one of the best Stanley Cup Playoff comebacks ever, with three goals from the Bruins in the final 10:42 of regulation and another by center Patrice Bergeron at 6:05 of overtime to win it 5-4. The rally was legendary, the celebration even more so. As Boston forward Brad Marchand recently told me, it was “by far the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey.” Pretty fun for those of us watching too.
Tom Gulitti, staff writer
I’m siding with Dan here because this Game 7 overtime capped a heavyweight battle between the top two teams in the NHL in the first half of the 2010s. The series was a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Final, which the Blackhawks won in five games — ending the Kings’ hopes of repeating after winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 — on their way to winning the Cup for the second time in four seasons. Though the Rangers had already advanced by defeating the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final, everyone watching this Game 7 knew Chicago and Los Angeles were the best two teams in the League and the victor likely would win the Stanley Cup again too. Like Dan, I watched from home in New Jersey and had to wait to find out if I would be flying to Los Angeles or Chicago the next day for the start of the Stanley Cup Final. I had flights booked to each city, and the seesaw nature of the game made it impossible to predict which one I’d need until Martinez scored the overtime winner at 11:10 p.m. ET. Martinez was the hero again in the Cup Final against New York, scoring at 14:43 of the second overtime in the Kings’ championship-clinching 3-2 victory in Game 5.