On the Brink
We have seen teams comeback from 3-0 down in the National Hockey League in the past. Mind you it has only happened three times in the league’s entire history so it isn’t all that probable. Last year however we saw two teams, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, force a game seven after being down 3-0 only to ultimately lose the series four games to three. It is probably more heartbreaking to lose it that way rather than just being swept in four striaght games.
Currently the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves trying to accomplish the feat in this year’s playoffs. After being down 3-0 both teams have cut their deficits to 3-1 against the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers respectively. While the task seems improbable it is anything but impossible. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders, and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers can attest to that. So there is a chance it could happen.
So who has the better chance of completing the task in the 2012 postseason?
Well both teams certainly have a ton of firepower at their disposal. With the return of Daniel Sedin the Canucks looked to have a little more jump and finally managed to solve Jonathan Quick. Meanwhile the Penguins have no shortage of offense themselves as evident by their ten spot the other night. They should also get a boost with the return of James Neal for game 5 tonight after his one game suspension.
When it comes to keeping the puck out of the net it would appear the Canucks are in the better position. Cory Schneider has stabilized things in-goal replacing Roberto Luongo and the Kings have had trouble finding the back of the net all season.
As far as the Penguins/Flyers series goes, well the goaltending has been in a word…. awful. Both teams are giving up touchdowns and field goals on a nightly basis so the Penguins can’t realistically rely on Marc-Andre Fleury at the moment. Even in their game 4 victory he gave up a shaky goal early on and was only able to recover thanks to the Flyers goaltending being much worse.
Overall I would say the Canucks have the better chance of pulling off the comeback. That series has been more tightly contested and Vancouver now has the benefit of some extra days rest to right the ship.
The Penguins on the other hand are playing a stronger opponent who is also a rival. The Flyers are not going to want to go down in the history books as blowing a 3-0 lead to Pittsburgh of all teams. The series has also had so many momentum swings and crazy plays that you have to think the Penguins will be in tough to settle down and find some consistency.
It is hard to say which team needs to win their series more. So much was expected this season from Vancouver after just missing out on the Cup last year, and with the return of Sidney Crosby to the line-up many people had touted the Penguins as the favourites. I do know of one person who will be hoping for a little playoff magic from both teams.
Did I happen to mention I picked a Canucks/Penguins final in my playoff hockey pool?