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Stanley Cup Finals 2011: Top 5 Stanley Cup Final Comebacks

Matt EichelSenior Writer IJune 6, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals 2011: Top 5 Stanley Cup Final Comebacks

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    Alex Burrows and the Canucks must not falter if they want to be the footnote of another Stanley Cup Final collapse.
    Alex Burrows and the Canucks must not falter if they want to be the footnote of another Stanley Cup Final collapse.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Saturday night, the Boston Bruins were put into a unique position:

    Win, or it may all be over in Game 3.

    Only three teams (some on separate occasions) have come back from 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals to win the Stanley Cup.  Most recently, the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Do the Bruins care about the Penguins?  Of course not.

    This is their chance to put themselves in the record books, and maybe make the Vancouver Canucks the unlucky footnote in a great comeback.

    Here now are the top five Stanley Cup Finals comebacks.

5. 2001 Colorado Avalanche

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    9 Jun 2001:  Patrick Roy #33 and teammate Alex Tanguay #40 of the Colorado Avalanche in game seven of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  The Avalanche won 3-1 to take the series 4-3.  DIGITAL IMA
    Elsa/Getty Images

    In 2001, the Colorado Avalanche were almost a shoe-in for Stanley Cup champions, with Ray Bourque, Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg and a cast of superstars.

    Not so fast.

    The Avalanche started the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals with a 5-0 shutout win over Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils, showing their dominance with Sakic scoring twice and Roy making 25 saves.

    Game 2 was more closely contested, with the Devils winning 2-1 on goals by Bob Corkum and Turner Stevenson.

    The Avs would take Game 3 by a 3-1 score from goals by Martin Skoula, Bourque and Dan Hinote.

    That's when the series began to change.

    In Game 4, the Devils got to Roy, firing 35 shots to the Avalanche's 12.  They also won the game by a narrow 3-2 margin with Scott Gomez scoring the winning goal with 7:32 left in the game.

    Game 5 was one of the Devils' best road games of the playoffs, a 4-1 win at the Pepsi Centre, as they once again outshot the Avalanche and were one win away from claiming the Stanley Cup on home ice.

    It was time for Patrick Roy to have his best road game of the playoffs.  With the Devils leading the series 3-2, they came out firing, shooting 12 shots at Roy through the first 20 minutes and failing to beat him.  One goal in the first by Adam Foote and two goals in the second by Antti Nieminen and Drury sunk the Devils' chances of winning the Cup on home ice as they lost 4-0.

    Game 7 was Ray Bourque's time to shine if they could get him the win in his last game.  Alex Tanguay got the Avs going with a goal 7:58 into the first.  Tanguay would score again 4:57 into the second with Sakic responding almost two minutes later. 

    The Devils pushed back to make it a two-goal game on a Petr Skyora goal.  The second period was Patrick Roy's, as he stopped 12 Devils shots and stopped 26 to the Avs'a 22 shots to win Game 7 and the Stanley Cup.

4. 1966 Montreal Canadiens

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    The 1966 Montreal Canadiens overcame a 2-0 series deficit to the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.
    The 1966 Montreal Canadiens overcame a 2-0 series deficit to the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.

    The 1965-1966 Montreal Canadiens finished atop the standings with 90 points, 16 more than their Stanley Cup opponent Detroit Red Wings, who shocked Art Ross Trophy-winner Bobby Hull and the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

    The Red Wings shocked the Canadiens by winning Game 1 by a narrow 3-2 margin.  Game 2 was not much different, as the Red Wings silenced the Montreal Forum with a 5-2 win to grab a 2-0 series lead.

    In Detroit, the Canadiens won the all-important Game 3 by a 4-2 score, getting the momentum back and getting themselves back into the series.

    In Game 4, the Canadiens squeaked out a 2-1 win to tie the series 2-2 heading back to Montreal.

    In Montreal, the Canadiens made sure the Red Wings did not replicate their last game there, winning decisively 5-1.

    In Game 6, the Canadiens had the chance to clinch their 14th Stanley Cup in team history.  The game went into overtime when Henri Richard broke in over the line, lost his footing and subsequently crashed into Detroit goalie Roger Crozier as the puck went in over the line.

    The Red Wings argued that Richard had pushed the puck in with his hand but the call stood and the Canadiens won their seventh Stanley Cup in 11 years.

3. 1971 Montreal Canadiens

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    The 1971 Stanley Cup Champions.
    The 1971 Stanley Cup Champions.

    Not only did the 1971 Montreal Canadiens upset the heavily favoured Boston Bruins in seven games in the first round, they ousted a gritty Minnesota North Stars team in six games, and then faced another Original Six rival from Chicago.

    The Blackhawks opened the series in Chicago with a close 2-1 overtime win.  Chicago would also take Game 2 at home, by a 5-3 score.

    Down 2-0, Montreal enjoyed home ice, with 4-2 and 5-2 wins at the Montreal Forum to tie the series 2-2.  However, Chicago shutout the Canadiens in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead back to Montreal.

    A closely fought Game 6 found the Canadiens winning by a narrow 4-3 margin.  

    In Game 7 at the Chicago Stadium, the Blackhawks jumped out to a two-goal lead.  It could have been a three-goal lead as Bobby Hull rang a shot off the crossbar.

    However, the Canadiens came back, as Jacques Lemaire scored the first goal and Henri Richard once again proved his clutch play by scoring the tying and winning goals in a 3-2 win in Game 7.

2. 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't let a 2-0 series hole get them down.
    The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't let a 2-0 series hole get them down.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    In the highly anticipated rematch of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves in a hole early and often in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena in Games 1 and 2.

    Game 1 saw the Wings pull away in the second and third periods despite Pittsburgh outshooting them 32-30, including 12-8 in the third period alone.

    In Game 2, the Penguins jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an Evgeni Malkin power-play goal.  But the Wings answered with two second-period goals by Jonathan Ericsson and Valteri Filpulla.  Justin Abdelkader would score to make it another 3-1 Detroit win, despite Pittsburgh again outshooting the Wings 33-26, including 12-3 in the third and 12-7 in the first.

    Back in Pittsburgh, the tide began to turn for the Penguins as the teams traded two goals apiece despite Detroit heavily outshooting the home team in the two opening frames.  But it would be Sergei Gonchar's second-period power-play goal that would stand up as the winner in a 4-2 Penguins win.

    The Penguins would tie the series at home in Game 4 with another 4-2 win fuelled by an explosive second period, including a shorthanded goal by Jordan Staal.  Despite the win, the Penguins were again outshot 39-31, including 19-11 in the first period alone.

    Game 5 is one that Pittsburgh fans would like to forget.  A four-goal second period sunk the Penguins' chances of winning the Cup on home ice as Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after the fifth goal.  

    In Game 6, it was do or die for the Penguins, who had not led in the series.  Jordan Staal broke the deadlock under a minute into the second period and Tyler Kennedy added to the lead 5:35 into the third, as the Penguins held on to force Game 7.

    In Game 7, the Penguins came out firing, outshooting Detroit 10-6 in the first period.  Max Talbot would put the Penguins ahead in the second and added to it later in the period without the services of captain Sidney Crosby.  

    With time running out, a one-goal lead, and being outshot 7-1 with the faceoff in the Penguins zone, Fleury made a remarkable save as time expired and the Penguins won their third Stanley Cup in franchise history.

1. 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Not only are the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs the only team to win the Stanley Cup after being down 3-0 in a series, they did it in dramatic style en route.

    The Leafs finished second in the NHL with 57 points, 15 points better than their Stanley Cup opponent Detroit Red Wings.

    However, the Wings boasted dangerous scorers like Don Grosso (53 points in 45 games) and Sid Abel (49 points in 48 games), both third and fifth respectively in NHL scoring.

    The Leafs boasted Gordie Drilion (41 points in 43 games) and Syl Apps (41 points in 38 games) as they went on to defeat the New York Rangers in six games in the second round of the playoffs.

    The Red Wings took out the Montreal Canadiens in three games and then the feisty Boston Bruins in two games.

    Game 1 was a tight contest, a 3-2 win for Detroit at Maple Leaf Gardens.  Game 2 was almost a carbon copy as the Wings won 4-2.

    Back in Detroit at the Olympia, the Wings would take a 3-0 series lead via a 5-2 win in Game 3, having put themselves one game from the Stanley Cup.

    Toronto fought back valiantly, grinding out a 4-3 win in Game 4 to stay alive.  Back at home, the momentum picked up in Toronto's favour as they won by a 9-3 decision.  Back in Detroit, the Wings were losing steam as they lost 3-0 in front of their home Olympia crowd to force Game 7.

    In Game 7 at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Leafs would go ahead 3-1 and never look back, becoming the first and only team to win the Stanley Cup after trailing in the series 3-0.

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