PITTSBURGH, Pa. Much is made of home-ice advantage in the NHL playoffs.
After all, theres something comforting about knowing that, if a series were to go to a Game 7, it would be played in front of the home crowd. Players constantly acknowledge how important it is to have their fan base behind them with so much at stake.
But if you ask Jaromir Jagr, the key to a series isnt the potential for a Game 7 on home-ice at all.
Home-ice advantage is if theres a Game 7, but theres not always a Game 7, Jagr said. I remember one coach, and I think he was pretty right about it. We were down in the series 3-2, and he said, guys, 60 or 70 percent of teams who win in Game 6 win in Game 7. I think he was right about it. I think the key is Game 6.
As it turns out, history agrees with the Flyers veteran winger.
Since the 2004-05 NHL lockout, road teams are 12-12 in Game 7s. That means that, in reality, theres statistically actually no home-ice advantage at all.
To go a step farther, 50 of 90 playoff series completed since the lockout have been clinched by the visiting team. Flyers fans following the team in recent years have plenty of examples to refer to: the comeback victory over Boston in Game 7 in 2010; the Blackhawks Stanley Cup win the same year, in Philadelphia.
But if the key to this series is truly Game 6, the Flyers have to hope they can create their own version of the home-ice lift. Should this series against the Penguins go six games, Game 6 will be played a week from Sunday. In Philadelphia.
Its going to be exciting for everybody, Jagr said. But I think for all hockey fans, thats what they want to see, this kind of series.