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Canucks-Blackhawks: What's the Statistical Likelihood of a 3-0 Series Comeback?

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 21: (from left) Ryan Kesler #17, head coach Alain Vigneault, Chris Higgins #20 and Mikael Samuelsson #26 of the Vancouver Canucks watch the final seconds of the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs   on April 21, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The Blackhawks defeated the Canucks 5-0.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images
Kevin WContributor IIApril 22, 2011

The Vancouver Canucks have dropped two straight games and suddenly only lead their best-of-seven series by one, at 3-2, against the Chicago Blackhawks.

They are currently just one loss away from having to play Game 7 and face the possibility of blowing a 3-0 series lead.

Fear not.

Only three teams in the history of the National Hockey League have come back from a 3-0 series deficit to win.

In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs came back against the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. The New York Islanders came back against the Pittsburgh Penguins 33 years later in their second-round series win in 1975.

Last year, 35 years on, the Philadelphia Flyers came back against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

It was 33 years between 1942 and 1975, and 35 years between 1975 and 2010.

According to via The Puck Report, there have been 162 3-0 series leads in NHL history—meaning 98.1 percent of the teams that have held a 3-0 series lead have won their series.

Outside of hockey, only one other North American professional sports team has come back from a 3-0 series deficit.

That is, the Boston Red Sox, who came back against the New York Yankees in 2004 in the Major League Baseball semifinals.

Taking both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association into account, 98.6 percent of teams with a 3-0 series lead have won their series.

More statistics for you to digest.

NHL teams that have held a 3-1 series lead have won 90.7 percent of all series and 79.5 percent of all conference quarterfinal series. With a 3-2 series lead, teams have won 79.6 percent of all series and 79.3 percent of all conference quarterfinal series.

If nothing else, the Canucks have history and statistics on their side.


Kevin W is a featured columnist for the Vancouver Canucks on Bleacher Report and regularly blogs on his website, You can follow him at Twitter at @icanucks.

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