The first time it happened was in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final. The Detroit Red Wings won the first three games of the series, only to lose the next four to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It happened again in 1975. This time it was the New York Islanders that fought back from 3-0 down, stunning the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
The third, and only other time, it happened was in 2010, when the Boston Bruins went up three games to none over the Philadelphia Flyers, only to lose the next four by a combined score of 15-8.
So yeah, it’s been rare. When a team digs itself a 3-0 hole, almost always it ends up buried in it.
Then again, it nearly happened again in 2011, when the Canucks needed overtime to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of their first-round series, which Vancouver once led 3-0.
And remember the 2012 playoffs, when the Penguins put a bit of a scare into the Flyers, turning a 3-0 deficit into 3-2, before Philadelphia triumphed in Game 6? The Devils did the same thing in the Stanley Cup Final, when they fought back from 3-0 before losing Game 6 to the Kings.
At the very least, those two series became interesting, and that’s exactly what the Kings will be trying to make their best-of-seven with the Sharks on Saturday in San Jose. Win Game 5 and things would definitely get interesting, especially with Game 6 set for Monday at Staples Center.
We are, after all, talking about a San Jose team that’s experienced its share of postseason letdowns. Just to throw it out there. (Sorry, Sharks fans.)
We’re also talking about a very different NHL than the one that existed prior to the salary cap. For all you young kids who may be reading, let’s just say first-round matchups in the current era are a touch different than some of the first-round matchups we saw back in the day when 16 out of 21 teams made the playoffs and actual dynasties still existed.
For example, in 1989, there wasn’t much confidence that the 79-point Hartford Whalers were going to come back against the 115-point Montreal Canadiens. And wouldn’t you know it, they didn’t. (Though they did push Game 4 to overtime, losing on a Russ Courtnall tally.)
Look, are we predicting a Kings comeback? Of course not. Even if the difference between L.A. and San Jose is far smaller than the one between the Whalers and Habs, the odds remain very much against the Kings.
But if they win Saturday, just remember we wrote this.
(And if they lose, oh well, we didn’t predict they’d come back anyway.)