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

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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 WhoWins.com 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…

2011:

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.)

2010:

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.)

2009:

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.

2008:

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.)

Conclusion:

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.