History says winning Game 3 after split is pretty important

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Just thought we’d pass along this note the NHL sent along this morning in its daily “Stanley Cup of Joe” email to the media:

* Teams winning Game 3 after splitting the first two games of the Final have gone on to win the Stanley Cup 21 of 25 times (84.0%) since the Final adopted the best-of-seven format beginning in 1939.

* The four teams in that scenario to win the Stanley Cup after losing Game 3 were the 1964 Maple Leafs (seven games), 1989 Flames (six games), 1991 Penguins (six games) and 2004 Lightning (seven games).

* This marks the first split in the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final since 2004, when Calgary won the first game on the road and Tampa Bay came back to win Game 2.

Admittedly, the 84% stat lacks context. The Bruins and Blackhawks have been remarkably evenly matched so far. Whoever wins tonight will still have a lot of work to do.

In other words, it’s a bit different than, say, 1979 — the last Original Six match-up in the Stanley Cup Final — when the Rangers won Game 1 in Montreal, then lost the next four to one of the greatest collections of players ever assembled.

Still a big game though. It’s a best-of-five now.