We don’t think of 0-3 in a big spot as totally insurmountable anymore because of the 2004 Red Sox (and other examples), but on hockey’s grandest stage, it really is. There are only four examples of a team down 3-0 coming back to win a hockey series, and only one of those happened in the Cup Finals (1942). Overall, it’s four times in about 176 tries (less than two percent); ironically, the Kings did it this year and now must avoid it happening to them.
The 1942 Stanley Cup Finals is perhaps best known for a referee getting punched in the face by a head coach (Jack Adams, no less):
In Detroit for Game 4 on April 12, 1942, the Leafs led 4-3 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation time. The Red Wings were playing with desperation when referee Mel Harwood called successive Detroit penalties to Eddie Wares and Don Grosso. Adams’ temper boiled over, not uncommon for him, but the league had admonished him several times for his outbursts. Next thing anyone knew, Jack was on the ice and reputedly took a swing at the official. NHL president Frank Calder, who helped Adams earn his job with Detroit some 15 years earlier, appropriately suspended Jack for the remainder of the final. The Red Wings lost their composure and, with no Adams and no discipline, proceeded to lose that game, allowing Toronto to get back into the series. Momentum shifted. Toronto spanked Detroit 9-3 in Game 5, 3-0 in Game 6 and captured the Stanley Cup with a 3-1 win in Game 7 to close out the greatest upset in NHL history.
This summer is the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Rangers’ run to the Cup, so you would think the team (and the city) would come out hyped for arguably the biggest game at MSG (hockey-wise) in decades, but alas:
For the Rangers to win it all now, they need to do something that hasn’t been done since FDR was President. Hey, the NHL Playoffs are really hard.