The 5 biggest or best Game 7s played in metro Miami before Monday’s Stanley Cup Final

Miami doesn’t have the longest history with playoff Game 7s, such as the Stanley Cup Final Game 7 the Panthers will host Monday at Amerant Bank Arena against the Edmonton Oilers.

Heck, the metro area didn’t even have an NHL, NBA or MLB team until a generation after Bobby Baun played the 1964 Stanley Cup Final Game 7 on an ankle broken before he scored the winning goal in Game 6 or Willis Reed dragged himself out of the locker room to inspire the Knicks in 1970’s NBA Finals Game 7.

But, has any team faced a game more prominently at the fork between stairway to heaven or highway to Hell than the Panthers?

A win and they take home the first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 31-year history. A loss and they join the 1942 Detroit Red Wings as the only NHL, NBA or MLB team in major North American professional sports to lose a championship round best-of-7 series after being up 3-0.

And, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ revolution in that 1942 Cup Final was not televised anywhere, much less internationally as Monday’s game will be.

The Panthers either lift the Stanley Cup in glorious triumph or be the NHL’s Carrie, the long-picked on outsider who gets dumped on while waiting to be crowned.

READ MORE: ‘It all comes down to this’: Florida Panthers. Edmonton Oilers. Stanley Cup Final Game 7

It’s the biggest Game 7 played in Miami ever. Well, at least the biggest in 11 years. Or, maybe almost 27 years.

The five most landmark Game 7’s played in Miami, Miami Gardens or Sunrise going into Monday, in chronological order:

Cleveland at Marlins, Game 7, 1997 World Series

The matchup: Cleveland won only 86 games, but took the American League for the second time in three seasons. The Marlins, cobbled together after a free agent spending spree, made the playoffs as a wild card, swept San Francisco and upset Atlanta for the National League title.

The first six games: The teams traded solid wins in Miami before the series got wacky in Cleveland. Game 3, a 14-11 Marlins win, featured three errors by each side. Snow flurries fell during Cleveland’s Game 4 10-3 win. The Marlins committed two errors and starting pitcher (eventual World Series MVP) Livan Hernandez gave up six runs, but they still won 8-7. Marlins ace Kevin Brown gave up three runs in three innings and a 4-1 loss set up Game 7.

Game 7 at Pro Player Stadium: Cleveland’s Jared Wright, working on short rest, allowed only four baserunners in the first six innings. Cleveland took a 2-0 lead on Tony Fernandez’s two-run single off Marlins starter Al Leiter. Bobby Bonilla’s home run cut the Cleveland lead to 2-1 in the seventh. Facing closer Jose Mesa in the bottom of the ninth, the Marlins tied the score on singles by Moises Alou and Charles Johnson and a long sacrifice fly by Craig Counsell. In the 11th inning, Bonilla’s single, a Fernandez error on a crawling grounder by Counsell and an intentional walk loaded the bases. Bonilla got thrown out at home, bringing up Edgar Renteria. Renteria drilled Charles’ Nagy’s second pitch back up the middle to bring Counsell in for the winning run.

Result: Marlins 3, Cleveland 2.

New York Knicks at Heat, Game 7, 2000 NBA Playoffs, Second Round

The matchup: New York vs. Miami, teeming with New York transplants. Georgetown center Patrick Ewing for the Knicks vs. Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning for the Heat. Heat coach Pat Riley’s old team vs. his current team. For the fourth consecutive year, the NBA got a Heat-Knicks playoff rumble, “rumble” used without metaphor. The Heat’s P.J. Brown flipping Knicks guard and former Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward to start a 1997 brawl and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy hanging onto Mourning’s leg during a 1998 brawl summed up this rivalry.

Alonzo Mourning, right, of the Miami Heat, and New York Knicks Charles Oakley grapple during a fight in the closing seconds of Game 4 of the first round playoff series Thursday, April 30, 1998, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Mourning was ejected from the game. Holding on to Mourning’s left leg is Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy. The Knicks won 90-85 to force a fifth game. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The series: The Heat won Games 1, 3 and 5 and the Knicks countered by winning Games 2, 4 and 6.

Game 7: Mourning made Ewing, in his 15th season, look creaky while scoring 14 first-quarter points. But the Heat’s 25-16 first-quarter lead turned into a 45-39 deficit at half as Latrell Sprewell poured in 14 second-quarter points. The Heat tied the score after three quarters. In the fourth, the Heat as a team went 2 for 7 from the free-throw line. Chris Childs scored 10 off the bench in the third quarter for the Knicks. Mourning gambled for a steal on an entry pass, came up with nothing and Ewing’s dunk gave the Knicks an 83-82 lead. The last shot of the Heat-Knicks rivalry wasn’t taken by Mourning or Tim Hardaway or Jamal Mashburn but Clarence Weatherspoon. His jumper over Marcus Camby never had a chance.

Result: New York 83, Miami 82.

New Jersey at Panthers, Game 7, 2012 NHL Eastern Conference First Round

The matchup: The Southeast Division-winning Panthers ended a then-NHL record 11-season playoff drought despite scoring the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. But, goalies Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen kept the Panthers in games long enough to find the necessary offense. The Panthers faced New Jersey, the team that swept them out of the 2000 playoffs. New Jersey still had goalie Martin Brodeur and forwards Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora, but these weren’t the same Devils a previous generation of Panthers faced. They still played a solid defensive game salted with offense under coach Peter DeBoer, in his first year with New Jersey after three seasons in Florida.

The series: As the division winner, the Panthers were the higher seed despite eight fewer points. Games 1 and 2 mirrored each other — one team taking a 3-0 lead, the other team cutting it to 3-2 — the only difference on the scoreboard being an empty-netter by Tomas Fleischmann, the Panthers goals and points leader. The Panthers then took two of the next three games, including a 3-0 30-save shutout by Theodore to head back to New Jersey with a chance to clinch. But, Travis Zajac’s overtime goal sent the series back to Sunrise.

Game 7: For the fifth time in the series, one team opened a multigoal lead before allowing the other team to score. Adam Henrique, who qill be in Game 7 Monday for Edmonton, struck 1:19 into the game and the Devils took a 2-0 lead into the third period. A Panthers penalty gave Jersey a chance to put the game away on an early third period power play, but after three penalties in 1:38, two on Jersey, it was the Panthers’ Stephen Weiss who got the power-play goal. Marcel Goc tied it with 3:28 left while Marek Zidlicky served a delay of game penalty. In the second overtime, Henrique’s stick check kept Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from getting everything on a hard-around. This forced a turnover and when Henrique found himself between the circles, he fired a wrister between Theodore’s legs to end the game at 3:47 of the second overtime.

The result: New Jersey 3, Panthers 2 (2 OT).

Boston at Heat, Game 7, 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Final

The matchup: The Celtics brought their established championship mix of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen with Rajon Rondo at point guard, but were underdogs to the Heat. The Heat stormed past Boston in the playoffs in 2011, the first year of the Big Three (Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh) era and looked even more cohesive this year. But, a loss could mean a breakup of The Heatles.

The series: Both teams held serve at home through the first four games, each winning two games, one of which was in overtime. When Boston nicked the Heat 94-90 in Game 5, the speculation started about what would happen to the Heat after the Celtics ended the series in Game 6. That’s when James, often criticized for not taking over games as a scorer and lacking a “killer instinct,” took over Game 6 in every way while wearing an expression that defined the old phrase “serious as a heart attack.” James scored 45 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in a 98-79 win.

Game 7: The Celtics took a 53-46 halftime lead as Rondo distributed 10 assists and Brandon Bass had 14 points, Pierce 13 and Allen 12. But in the third quarter, Heat point guard Mario Chalmers got going as did three-point shooter Shane Battier and the Heat tied the score at 73 after three quarters. James and Wade took over in the fourth, the former leading the Heat in scoring, rebounds and assists and Wade throwing in nine points.

The result: Heat 101, Boston 88.

San Antonio Spurs at Heat, Game 7, 2013 NBA Finals

The matchup: The NBA’s most consistent team of the 2000s, San Antonio, with smooth power forward Tim Duncan, point guard Tony Parker, weirdly magical Manu Ginobili and nascent superstar Kawhi Leonard vs. defending NBA champion Miami Heat with The Big 3, now joined by Ray Allen.

The series: The Heat was done. Down 3-2 in games and 94-89 with 28.2 seconds left in Game 6 despite James going Superman in the fourth quarter, surely it couldn’t come back once more against an experienced team that knew how to close games. James missed a three-pointer, but Mike Miller eventually got the rebound and fed James for a successful three to cut the deficit to 94-92. The Heat fouled Leonard, who hit only one free throw. The Heat’s final chance seemed to clang away with another James’ three-point attempt. , Bosh grabbed the rebound and found Allen. One of the best shooters in NBA history didn’t hesitate to drain a game-tying three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left. Months later, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was still shaking his head over Allen knowing exactly where his feet were between the three-point line and the sideline, so he could just catch-and-shoot. The Heat won in overtime.

Game 7: James dominated the game with 37 points and 12 rebounds, nine and five, respectively, in the fourth quarter as the Heat pulled away. Wade had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Battier hit six three-pointers and successfully defended a Duncan attempt to tie late in the game.

The result: Heat 95, Spurts 88.

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh celebrate after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.
Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh celebrate after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.