I didn’t want to put up a new post until we topped 1,000 comments on the game thread … but it was slowing down, and anyway, this will give us a chance to break 1,000 later in the series, or in the next series, or in the Conference finals or in the Stanley Cup finals (that should be a slam dunk).
Anyway, I thought before we all jump ahead and call this series over, you might want to look at these numbers. You can take this as a positive or a negative. I’m just looking at it as something you should know about closing out a 2-0 playoff series lead.
In the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs, 291 teams have won the first two games of a best-of-seven series.
In only 37 of those series has the team trailing 2-0 come back to win the series (12.7 percent).
Inquiring minds, though, might ask how many times a team has fallen behind 0-2 by losing the first two games at home, and still come back to win?
It’s not as rare as you’d think, perhaps.
According to my count, 16 times a team lost the first two games at home and then came back to win the series. And, in fact, nine of the last 12 teams to come back from 0-2 to win the series did so after losing the first two games at home, all in the last 15 years.
Your New York Rangers did it to the Montreal Canadiens in 1996. One of the most recent teams to lose the first two at home and come back to win the series was the 2003 Tampa Bay Lightning, coached by one John Tortorella.
Taking it one step further, only two teams in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs—the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs against Detroit, and the 1975 Islanders against Pittsburgh—have ever come back from 0-3 to win a series. And I believe only one other team in major-league sports has done that, and it was the 2004 Boston Red Sox against the Yankees.
Here’s a link to Tortorella’s entire post-Game 2 press conference. Found it on the Capitals’ web site.
I also forgot to point out earlier that today was the 10th anniversary of that great day at the Garden when The Great One skated off for the final time.