Here’s the thing about trying to come back from a 3-0 series deficit:
It’s still really, really hard.
Only four teams in NHL history have ever done it, versus 178 that have tried and failed, per whowins.com.
So even though the Kings did it in 2014 against the Sharks, they really don’t want to try their luck again.
“There’s no way we can go down another game.”
The Kings won’t be the only ones trying to avoid a 3-0 deficit tonight. The Wild are in the same boat versus the Stars. So are the Flyers versus the Capitals.
For the Kings, though, a first-round exit would mean no series victories in two years, after missing the playoffs altogether last season. And unlike the Wild and Flyers, they went into this postseason with serious Stanley Cup aspirations.
That’s why tonight is so important. A Kings win could change the tenor of the series dramatically, shifting the pressure onto the Sharks, a team that has not handled pressure well in the past.
“Just think, if you can cut it in half, it’s two-one,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “It’s not that hard to figure out.”
Figure out? No, not hard.
On the road, and probably without Alec Martinez again, the hard part will actually be doing it.