History in the making?
Despite 3-1 deficit, Canadiens remain optimistic
NHL teams to Overcome 3-0 Deficit
In the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals, the Toronto Maple Leafs dropped the first three games of the series to the Detroit Red Wings. After facing a huge obstacle, the Leafs triumphantly completed the comeback to become the 1942 Stanley Cup Champions. The Maple Leafs victory remains the only time an NHL team overcame a 3-0 deficit to become Stanley Cup Champions.
In the 1975 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals, the New York Islanders faced a 3-0 series deficit to the Pittsburgh Penguins. After forcing a Game 7, the Islanders achieved the comeback and won Game 7. The New York Islanders won 8 games while facing elimination in the 1975 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils in 5 games to advance to the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, though they fell behind in the series 3-0 to the Boston Bruins. The Flyers fought their way back in the series and forced a Game 7 at TD Garden. While the Flyers were down 3-0 in the first period, they rallied and scored four straight goals to capture the series. The Flyers reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, though they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games.
In the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings were down 3-0 in the first round to the San Jose Sharks. They surged back and won the series in 7 games. In the Western Conference second round, the Kings were down 3-2 in the series and forced Game 7 versus the Anaheim Ducks, which they ultimately won. In the Western Conference Finals, the Kings held a 3-1 series lead versus the Chicago Blackhawks, though this time, the Blackhawks rallied and forced a game 7. The Kings would prevail and reach the Stanley Cup finals, when they faced the New York Rangers. The Kings ultimately won the series 4-1 while successfully winning three Game 7's along the way. The Kings hold the record for most elimination games won in a single playoff year for a Stanley Cup Champion with 7.
Unsuccessful Comebacks: While these four teams have successfully overcome a 3-0 deficit, 5 NHL teams have been down 3-0 in a series and forced a Game 7, though ultimately succumbed in Game 7.
In the 1939 Stanley Cup Semifinals, the New York Rangers were down 3-0 in the series versus the Boston Bruins. The Rangers rallied and forced a Game 7, though they fell short, and the Bruins won in triple overtime.
In the 1945 Stanley Cup Finals, the Detroit Red Wings were down 3-0 versus the Toronto Maple Leafs before battling back to even the series at 3-3. The Maple Leafs ultimately prevailed, and it marked the first time in NHL history in which the winner of Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals was the visiting team. Since, there have been 15 Game 7's in Stanley Cup Finals history, with only four visiting teams winning the Stanley Cup.
In the 1975 Stanley Cup Semifinals, the New York Islanders fell behind 3-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Islanders fought back and forced a Game 7, but they fell short.
In the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals, the Chicago Blackhawks trailed 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks. The Blackhawks battled back and forced a Game 7. The Chicago Blackhawks were down 1-0 with less than two minutes to play and scored a shorthanded tying goal with 1:56 left in the game, which forced overtime. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks eventually lost in overtime.
In the 2011 Western Conference Semifinals, the Detroit Red Wings were down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks. The Red Wings climbed back into the series and forced Game 7. The San Jose Sharks held on to win Game 7 by a score of 3-2. The series featured six games that were decided by one goal.
Can the Habs comeback? While the Canadiens fell behind 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals, the Canadiens fought back and took Game 4 to drive the series to 3-1. With the Lightning on home ice tonight, they seek to capture their third Stanley Cup on home ice. While so few teams have made a 3-0 series comeback in NHL history, the Montreal Canadiens are still alive. If they can pull off a victory tonight in Game 5 at Amalie Arena, they will head back to Montreal, where they can even the series and force a Game 7. BUT BUT BUT don't forget, even with four teams successfully pulling off a 3-0 deficit, there have been five teams that have rallied back to force a Game 7 and ultimately lost.