Two posts in one day?! *Gasp!*
I know, I know, we neglected the blog for a while and we're now back and probably overdoing it. This post is time-sensitive, so I really don't feel like pushing it back.
It's only Game 1. Fans of 8 teams surely said that over these first few nights of the playoffs...and they're completely right for saying so. Many, many times the winner of game 1 does not go on to win the series. In the immortal words of Ryan Smyth on Knob Hockey, "so we lost game 1, that's what we did, that's what we do, we lose game 1 we fight back, we make it harder on ourselves." So often, that's exactly right. In the 2006-07 playoffs, Nashville beat San Jose in game 1 of round 1. We all know how that ended. In that same timeframe, Dallas beat Vancouver in game 1 before losing to the 'Nucks in 7. To start off their Stanley Cup run, the Carolina Hurricanes lost 6-1 to Montreal, and consequently causing stories with headlines like "Habs roll over Canes" and "Montreal skates to easy victory."
I decided to do some digging, and as of Fall 2007, 161 teams lost game 1 and went on to win the series. Granted, 355 won game 1 and then won the series...but still having roughly a third of the teams escape the odds isn't too shabby.
In fact, there have been teams that have come back from 3-0 deficits. In 1942, the Toronto Maple Leafs came back against the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. The "Comeback Kids" final victory was sealed with the overtime goal of Leafs legend Bill Barilko, who died that off season in a mysterious plane crash in the Canadian wilderness.
The other team to do it was the 1975 Islanders, who beat the Penguins in game 7 after the Pens won the first 3. That Isles team, still fresh from expansion, the players expected to do nothing in the playoffs, beat a Pittsburgh team that was on a roll, lead by Pronovost, Kehoe, Larouche, Iness and others. At the time, it was an upset for the ages...even though now, with both teams having glory years since then, it has faded into history.
"But John," you say, and I know you are, "a third of teams lose game 1 and win, and only two have lost 3 and won...who cares? Those are terrible odds." Those might seem terrible, but you really have to look to the bigger picture. If you take Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), along with the counts in the NHL, a team has gone down 3 games to 0 and come back to win the series 4-3 Only 3 Times in history. Two of them we've discussed, the '42 Leafs and the '75 Isles, and now the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Meaning that it's NEVER happened in basketball, and in the illustrious timeline of MLB dating back to the 1880s, it never happened until 2004. Pretty astounding, pretty exciting, and something remarkable to our unique game.
So as I stare on, drooling at the idea of my oddball Stars prediction coming true, fearing that the Sharks (and my fantasy pick Nabokov) are going to fall apart, hoping that the Pens will roll through the Senators, or wondering if I'm losing it picking the Devils and the Wild...one has to remember: It's only Game 1.
Habs in 5
Pens in 5 or less
Flyers in 7
Devils in 7
Wings in 6
Wild in 7
Sharks in 6
Stars in 5
Habs win cup over Sharks in 7, Kovalev wins Smythe
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Two posts in one day?! *Gasp!*