In case you lucked out and spent last night in a coma, you’re probably well aware of the beating the Canucks took in their first attempt to close out their series with the Chicago Blackhawks. You’re probably also well aware of the fear of collapse that’s set in among the Vancouver faithful — you’d have thought someone let Samson lean up against a support pillar.
Note: if you’re a heathen and you don’t get this reference, let this Lego re-enactment educate you. Ignore the dragon in the corner; it’s a liberal re-enactment.
Many have pointed to last year’s historic comeback by the Philadelphia Flyers (who clawed their way back from 3-0 down versus the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals), as evidence that the Blackhawks could still win this series, that a comeback could still happen.
It’s true: it’s not an impossible feat. As the Kurtenblog pointed out earlier today, it happens about once every 30 years or so.
[...] Pulling such a feat is nearly impossible. Yes, even though Philadelphia did it less than 12 months ago. According to Whowins.com, teams down 0-3 in a series go on to lose 98.1 percent of the time — of the 162 teams that have faced such a deficit, only the 1942 Maple Leafs, the 1975 Islanders and the 2010 Flyers turned the trick.
(You’ll also notice the 30-plus year gap between each, I presume. And that no team in NHL history has ever rallied from 0-3 down in the opening round of the playoffs: The ’42 Leafs did it in the Stanley Cup final while the ’75 Islanders and ’10 Flyers did it in the second round. )
As they say in Internet parlance, this. In the history of the NHL, only three teams have done what the optimistic Blackhawks now believe they can do. So, while it is possible, it occurs as frequently as the Saturnine mass forging of human souls, which fourteenth-century Europeans believed took place every three decades, in conjunction with Saturn’s rare solar alignment.
That is to say, it’s not very likely.
Here’s what’s more likely: we just witnessed a massive Chicago pushback that occurred at the same time as Vancouver, believing themselves to be in the clear, took their foot off the gas. They got walloped, in what amounts to a cautionary tale about relaxing in the postseason. That happens much more often than once every thirty years.
Need proof? If it’s an appeal to history that you need to calm your nerves, here’s a brief rundown of similarly meaningless playoff blowouts since the last time Saturn aligned with the sun, metaphorically speaking:
In 2010, down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks, the Detroit Red Wings came alive, winning game four in a 7-1 blowout, led by a four-goal, six-point night from Johan Franzen. A lot of good it did. The Sharks regrouped in a hurry, taking the next game 2-1 and the series 4-1.
In 2009, The Montreal Canadiens mustered a blowout in game three of their series with the Philadelphia Flyers, scoring the first four goals of the game en route to a 5-1 victory. Only Simon Gagne’s third-period goal made this one even remotely respectable. Not that it mattered; it was Montreal’s only win of the series.
In 2008, in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the New York Rangers would prevent a sweep at the hands of the Pitsburgh Penguins with a 3-0 victory. The Penguins would snap to attention and close the series out in game five, but they apparently didn’t learn their lesson. In the Eastern Conference finals versus Philadelphia, they jumped out to a 3-0 lead yet again, before the Flyers mustered a decisive game four victory, defeating the Penguins by a score of 4-2. And, while that score doesn’t seem like a blowout, it’s worth noting that Philadelphia scored three times in the first period and held that lead until a late-game surge by the Penguins made it appear close.
In 2003, down 3-0 in their opening round series, the Boston Bruins thumped the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-1. It matched their goal total for the rest of the series. New Jersey would shut them out two nights later to close things out.
In 2002, after dropping the first two games of their conference semifinal versus Detroit on the road, St Louis would bounce back for their first home game, shellacking the Red Wings by a score of 6-1. It was a blip. Detroit would win the next two games to close out the series in five.
In 1997, down 3-1 in the Western Conference final versus Detroit, Colorado would take game five in a walkoff, winning by a score of 6-0. It would be Detroit’s last loss before closing out the series in game six and going on to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup.
In 1996, in the first round of the playoffs, Boston would stave off elimination versus the Florida Panthers with a resounding 6-2 win in game four. Florida would close out the series in game five. Boston would remain the only team to score six goals on John Vanbiesbrouck in the postseason until the Stanley Cup Finals.
It’s 1995. Down 3-2 in a series against the Vancouver Canucks, the St. Louis Blues force as game seven in a laughable 8-2 victory. Vancouver goes on to win game seven. That same year, Chicago would prevent a Western Conference finals sweep with a 5-2 victory in game four over Detroit. Unfortunately, they would lose the next game in double overtime.
In 1994, Detroit beats San Jose by a score of 7-1 in a game six, only to lose game seven two nights later. It was the same thing that happened to them the year prior after they routed Toronto 7-3, only to lose the series.
In 1989, Buffalo would open a series with the Boston Bruins with a nasty 6-0 win. Boston would go on to win the series 4-1.
And finally, in 1988, in every one of the six series that ended 4-1, the eliminated teams scored five or more goals in their lone win.
Anyway. all’s I’m saying is history favours the Canucks.Tags: Blackhawks, don't riot, Flip the pool, history, perspective, Vancouver Canucks