That’s the number of teams who are on the brink of elimination, down 3 games to 0 in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. I predicted one series to end in a sweep and it may very well do that, in the opposite way that I thought it would (the Chicago vs Nashville series because Pekka Rinne is playing out of his mind). The second of the 3-0 series in the Western Conference is lining up with my predicted winner (Anaheim vs Calgary). Meanwhile, it appears St. Louis read my predictive comments regarding taking the body of work versus hot hands in their series with Minnesota and said: “let’s make him wrong.” The fourth of these series is Pittsburgh versus Columbus, which I thought would go the full seven games, given Zach Werenski’s injury on the blue line for Columbus and Pittsburgh’s speed it may well end tonight.
Four is also the number of successful comebacks from 3-0 series deficits to win the series. This started with the 1942 Stanley Cup Final where the Toronto Maple Leafs pulled off the “reverse sweep” against the Detroit Red Wings. The next occurrence was in 1975 where the New York Islanders ironically beat the Penguins. The last two instances have both come in the 21st Century with the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and 2014 Los Angeles Kings battling back to win against the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks respectively. Out of those last three teams mentioned the Kings went onto win the Stanley Cup and the Flyers lost the final to the Blackhawks, starting the latter’s run of dominance. The odds of any of the teams in 3-0 holes coming back is less than 1 percent but if I had to pick one it would be Chicago. The reason for this pick is not just because I thought they were the title favorite at the beginning of the postseason, its because of the apparent weaknesses of the other three teams in the 3-0 hole. Columbus can’t keep up with Pittsburgh speed-wise and losing key contributor Werenski on defense may have sealed their fate. Even if Calgary wins Game 4 the last time they beat Anaheim in Anaheim was April 25, 2006 during which time they have dropped 29 in a row on Anaheim’s home ice including the playoffs, they’re about extinguished. The St Louis-Minnesota series was a matchup of the hot hand versus the body of work and so far, the hot hand has dominated. Chicago doesn’t have a brilliant shot either, in the first two games I scored as many goals as the entire team did and in the third they blew a 2-0 lead to lose in overtime. There’s always next year I guess? Pittsburgh and Columbus play tonight April 18th, Calgary versus Anaheim as well as Minnesota vs St Louis play the 19th, and Chicago-Nashville play again the 20th.