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Can Pittsburgh, Vancouver rally from 3-0 series deficits?


Attention, Pittsburgh Penguins and/or Vancouver Canucks fans — this post is for you.

While it’s true your teams are the only two postseason entrants yet to win a game (stunning, just stunning), there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Even though  statistical websites like tell us teams that lead 3-0 proceed to win the majority of the time — posting a 164-3 record (.982 winning percentage) — recent history suggest that rallying from that deficit isn’t as overwhelming as it used to be.

Some examples…


Round 1, Chicago rallies from 0-3 deficit to force Game 7 with Vancouver.

Round 2, Detroit rallies from 0-3 deficit to force Game 7 with San Jose.

(What’s interesting about Chicago and Detroit is that, prior to the 2011 postseason, only six teams in NHL history had forced a Game 7 after starting a series with three straight losses. Then we got two in the same playoffs.)


Philly falls behind 3-0 in its second round series with Boston…then goes on to stage one of the greatest comebacks in NHL history.

(The remarkable thing here? Philly rallied after trailing 3-0 in the series and 3-0 in the decisive Game 7. That’s like a great comeback wrapped inside an amazing comeback.)


Okay, this is the playoff year Penguins and Canucks fans will want to ignore. Every team that went down 0-3 was finito — Boston swept Montreal, Detroit swept Columbus, Vancouver swept St. Louis and Pittsburgh swept Carolina. Bad year to fall into a hole.


San Jose fell behind 0-3 to Dallas in its second-round series but proceeded to win the next two and play four overtimes in the deciding Game 6.

This was one of the more underrated comebacks in recent history (it was also the eighth longest game in NHL history at the time.)


Granted, there’s not a ton to get excited about here. The fact remains that only three teams have ever pulled off the feat entirely — the 1942 Maple Leafs, the 1975 Islanders and, as mentioned, the 2010 Flyers — but the fact we’re fresh off a postseason that saw two teams rally from 0-3 to force a Game 7 should be reason for optimism.

Slight optimism.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”