The San Jose Sharks are down. Should they already be considered out?
The answer isn’t a solid yes, but the odds of coming back are not great.
According to NHL.com, there have been 336 teams since 1942 to trail 2-0 in the postseason. Only 44 of them have rallied to win the series. That’s 13.1 percent of teams to come back from losing the first two games. Of those successful 44, just four did so in the Stanley Cup Final.
The last team to do so for the Cup? The 2011 Boston Bruins, who rallied from 2-0 down to eventually beat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.
Also rallying from 2-0 down for the championship: The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942, the Montreal Canadiens in 1971 and the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins. Yes, the same Penguins who lead this season’s Stanley Cup Final following a 3-2 victory in Monday’s Game 1 and a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 on Wednesday. Pittsburgh trailed the Detroit Red Wings in that series before winning games 3, 4, 6 and 7 for their third title.
Game 3 of this series is on Saturday and Game 4 is on Monday. Both games will be played at SAP Center in San Jose.
Here’s a look at both teams’ history with 2-0 leads or deficits:
San Jose has blown two 2-0 series leads. The Sharks have not rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
▪ 2006 second round: No. 5 San Jose defended the Shark Tank in the Western Conference semifinals, securing two 2-1 victories over the Oilers. Eighth-seeded Edmonton answered back at home with a 3-2, triple-overtime victory at Rexall Place, then rifled off three more wins in succession to send the favored Sharks home.
▪ 2014 first round: The Sharks were favored in the series with Los Angeles and they showed why, taking a 3-0 series lead with two routs and an overtime road win in Game 3. Then the Kings suddenly got hot. Los Angeles stormed back to take the series, winning each game by at least three goals. The Kings rode that momentum to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.
Pittsburgh has successfully come back from a 2-0 series deficit five times. The Penguins have blown two 2-0 leads.
▪ 1975 quarterfinals: In the days when the NHL sent just eight teams to the playoffs, No. 4 Pittsburgh opened its series with three victories over the fifth-seeded New York Islanders. New York rallied from 3-0 down and completed the comeback with a 1-0 victory in Game 7 at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena.
▪ 1991 conference final: Pittsburgh, the Patrick Division winners, lost the first two games in Boston, which won the Adams Division and led the Wales Conference. The Penguins won the next four games against the Bruins in convincing fashion to reach their first Stanley Cup Final.
▪ 1992 first round: The defending champions lost the first two games of the series to the Washington Capitals, then rallied from a 3-1 deficit to advance.
▪ 1996 first round: The Penguins again had to rally from two games down against the Capitals to move on, winning the series in six games.
▪ 2000 second round: Despite winning the first two games of the series in Philadelphia, the Penguins couldn’t hold off the Flyers, who rallied with four consecutive victories, including a 2-1 win in Game 4 that took five overtime periods to decide.
▪ 2009 second round: For the third time in a series, the Penguins trailed the Capitals 2-0. Pittsburgh won the next three, then lost at home in Game 6 before clinching the series with a 6-2 rout in Washington.
Plus, the Penguins’ aforementioned rally in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.
Compiled by Noel Harris
PITTSBURGH 2, SAN JOSE 0
All games at 5 p.m. on NBC or NBCSN
Game 1: Penguins 3, Sharks 2
Game 2: Penguins 2, Sharks 1 (OT)
Saturday, June 4: at San Jose
Monday, June 6: at San Jose
x-Thursday, June 9: at Pittsburgh
x-Sunday, June 12: at San Jose
x-Wednesday, June 15: at Pittsburgh