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Can Pittsburgh, Vancouver rally from 3-0 series deficits?

Apr 16, 2012, 1:12 PM EDT

Flyers Bruins

Attention, Pittsburgh Penguins and/or Vancouver Canucks fans — this post is for you.

While it’s true your teams are the only two postseason entrants yet to win a game (stunning, just stunning), there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Even though  statistical websites like tell us teams that lead 3-0 proceed to win the majority of the time — posting a 164-3 record (.982 winning percentage) — recent history suggest that rallying from that deficit isn’t as overwhelming as it used to be.

Some examples…


Round 1, Chicago rallies from 0-3 deficit to force Game 7 with Vancouver.

Round 2, Detroit rallies from 0-3 deficit to force Game 7 with San Jose.

(What’s interesting about Chicago and Detroit is that, prior to the 2011 postseason, only six teams in NHL history had forced a Game 7 after starting a series with three straight losses. Then we got two in the same playoffs.)


Philly falls behind 3-0 in its second round series with Boston…then goes on to stage one of the greatest comebacks in NHL history.

(The remarkable thing here? Philly rallied after trailing 3-0 in the series and 3-0 in the decisive Game 7. That’s like a great comeback wrapped inside an amazing comeback.)


Okay, this is the playoff year Penguins and Canucks fans will want to ignore. Every team that went down 0-3 was finito — Boston swept Montreal, Detroit swept Columbus, Vancouver swept St. Louis and Pittsburgh swept Carolina. Bad year to fall into a hole.


San Jose fell behind 0-3 to Dallas in its second-round series but proceeded to win the next two and play four overtimes in the deciding Game 6.

This was one of the more underrated comebacks in recent history (it was also the eighth longest game in NHL history at the time.)


Granted, there’s not a ton to get excited about here. The fact remains that only three teams have ever pulled off the feat entirely — the 1942 Maple Leafs, the 1975 Islanders and, as mentioned, the 2010 Flyers — but the fact we’re fresh off a postseason that saw two teams rally from 0-3 to force a Game 7 should be reason for optimism.

Slight optimism.

  1. lasallehockey81 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    When Philly came back against Boston, they got a boost in game 4 with Gagne getting back into the lineup and scoring in OT. Pittsburgh will have the total opposite effect with at least Asham and maybe Neal getting taken out of theirs. I don’t see either team winning a game let alone making a comeback.

    • chap6869 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Well, maybe the Pens will get a boost when they finally dress Malkin for a game.

    • areyesrn - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      and Michael Leighton was actually kinda sorta OK…better than both goaltenders in the Pens/Flyers series by far

    • 8spokedb - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Not to mention at the beginning of game four of the Bruins collapse, Mike Richards broke Krecji’s wrist with a solid open ice check when Krecji was the Bruins most productive forward. Couple that with the return of Gagne and it was a perfect storm of momentum to ignite the greatest comeback in nhl history.

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:43 PM

      and Krejci breaking his arm

  2. canuckswino - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    With the 40-plus years of experience behind us, Canucks fans shouldn’t be too optimistic – never understood how a cocky Canucks fan even exists based our on team’s history. Anyways, glad to see after our last year’s issue’s with Boston, the Canucks have played the first three games of this series without a legitimate big-body in their top-9 – this team couldn’t establish a net-front presence against your average TimBits team… but at least we’re not diving and yapping like last year! /sigh…

    • danphipps01 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Well, most of you. Kesler, meanwhile, seems to have straight-up abandoned hockey as a career to audition for Olympic diving.

      • canuckswino - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Maybe turn on the sarcasm radar dan…

      • hibackhand - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        well, Kesler IS in Hollywood after all… might as well audition his acting chops

  3. tmoore4075 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    No. Pens are rattled beyond believe. Fleury has been terrible, like Bob Essensa in 94 terrible, and they are going to have a few guys missing for at least game 4. So I think they are done. Canucks would have a change if Daniel was in the lineup. They seem lost too. I know Schneider is a great goalie but when you pull your Western Conference winning goalie from a year ago after 2 games and then you still lose game 3 you are in trouble. As was mentioned about Flyers got a huge win in game 4 to get them going in 2010 and Hawks and Wings were close in the first 3 games so it wasn’t out of the question to think they could make it back.

    • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      Exactly – both are done, finished, out.

      Going to be some changes in Vancouver afterward. They’ve missed GOLDEN opportunities and are now on the decline. Too Bad

      Pens… bunch of head cases that need to do some MAJOR growing up, starting with Punk Sid.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      it looks like the pens just cant wait to go home. as a pens fan, i have never seen our guys look so pathetically defeated as they did sitting on the bench on sunday.

      • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        Sadly true J. They’re much better than that.

  4. howardforvezina - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    No, children cant make it further. 😉

  5. al25ny - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Yes Pittsburgh can rally. Pittsburgh in 7

    • lasallehockey81 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Based on what has gone on in the series so far, you don’t think a statement like that needs some type of explanation? Is Mario in the lineup? They replacing “The Flower” with “an actual brick wall? Im interested in your logic.

    • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      You’re an Aerosmith fan, right? Dream On…Dream On…

    • trinityeagle - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      I gave you a thumbs up just for the ridiculous optimism. Nice. You are probably the same guy that is optimistic that Fleury will suddenly decide that he should stop pucks instead of using his glove to push them in.

    • CJ - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:04 PM

      you do realize they’d have to beat the Flyers twice in Pittsburgh to do that, where they’ve done that exactly once all season and that’s in a game that didn’t matter. This series was over after game 2.

  6. howardforvezina - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Hey, Genopringles you will crumble like a chip when youre out! 😉

    • govtminion - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      He’s been awfully quiet all of a sudden, hasn’t he?

      You okay, little guy?

  7. danphipps01 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Torts, on Vancouver and Pittsburgh’s dying hopes and dreams: “You missed, man. You missed.”

    • vismund11 - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      He said that???? Where’s the link? I need to see this.

  8. ray2013 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Don’t take this the wrong way, Panther fans, but I don’t think anyone who watches hockey figured the Panthers would win a playoff game this year before the Pens and Canucks.

    I don’t expect either to come back and win the series. But for their fanbases, you’d hope they win at least one game.

  9. Buffalo Grumblings - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    no and no.

  10. loinstache - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Canucks fan, and no. We’re outshooting LA 127-72 and Quick is holding the fort. You can’t just grab 4 wins from an airtight goalie.

  11. thehighcountrybear - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Quick has yet to make anything resembling a spectacular save…unlike Canucks’ goalies? The fact of the matter is, Canucks are not benefitting from the steady diet of power plays their cheating sniveling diving style of play normally dictates; they’ve been found out! Couple that with Daryl Sutter’s masterful approach to intense and smothering defensive zone attacking play, and the light in the loafer prancers we’ve come to know as the Vancouver Canucks pull the full Penn and Teller…? Out-coached, out-classed and out-played in every area of the game beyond the theatrical arts, the Vancouver Canucks are priming their home town for another holocaust fueled by belligerent and over-privileged teens wielding bic lighters and smartphones…let’s all laugh at Vancouver, it’s become a favorite Canadian spring ritual!

    • loinstache - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      Are all Kings fans as weird and full of air as you and blomfeld?

      • blomfeld - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM

        @thehighcountrybear – terrific analysis friend very much on the mark ! … the magnitude by which the Kings have “outclassed” the Canucks is what’s really impressed me though … I just hope we can keep this going for one more game and be done with these bastards …

  12. thehighcountrybear - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Let me revise that: let’s all laugh at Vancouver, the Canucks and their disassociated fans who have never won anything of consequence and who managed to prove to the world the extent to which a single city can raise uncultured and boorish behavior to never before seen levels! The definitive ‘poor loser’ in the world’s most livable city…too much of the herb and too little common sense?

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