So the Canucks have put themselves in a rather notorious hole. Only three teams in NHL history have managed to come back from being down 3 games to none. How did they do it?
2010 Flyers vs Bruins
Both the the 7th-seeded Flyers and the 6th-seeded Bruins had pulled upset in their first round series and neither came into the series as overwhelming favourites. The Bruins lead for all but 1:39 of the first three games, while the Flyers achieved nearly the same feat in games 4 through 6, trailing for just 3:29.
In game 7, the Bruins lost on a late too-many-men call. The series was mostly a see-saw battle, only games 3 and 5 were settled by more than a goal. Even with the close scores, the series featured goals aplenty, the Flyers scoring 21 and the Bruins, 20. That’s a key difference between that series and the Canucks’ deficit against the Kings. I don’t think many would argue that if the Canucks all of a sudden can start scoring, coming back from 3-0 isn’t impossible.
1975 Islanders vs Penguins
This first round series was just the second time an NHL team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. The comeback for the Isles was a shining moment for rookie goalie Chico Resch. Inserted in Battlin’ Billy Smith’s place for game 4, Resch gave the Islanders the goaltending they’d struggled to find in the first three games. So complete was the turnaround that New York didn’t trail for a minute after going 3-0 in the series. Their scoring, which had not disappeared in games 1 through 3, carried on.
1942 Maple Leafs vs Red Wings
The Wings’ famous collapse in the 1942 Final came about because Toronto coach Hap Day finally found a way to counter-act Detroit’s relentless dump-and-chase style. Day felt Detroit’s strategy was totally wearing out his defencemen and he figured that if the Leafs pursued the same strategy and turned around Detroit’s defenders, the Leafs would be able to beat the Wings at their own game.
At the end of game 4, Detroit coach Jack Adams (yes, that Jack Adams) jumped on the ice and attacked referee Mel Harwood, earning Adams a suspension for the rest of the series.
Well, for one, change your tactics. Be ready to adapt. There’s little doub the Canucks have been trying that. Two, change your goalie. Check. Three, score. That’s the rub, isn’t it?