May 12th, 2010

My Equally Valid Opinion

Close Yet Far

In anticipation of the Philadelphia Flyers taking the Boston Bruins to an unprecedented seventh game after being down 3-0 in the series, I went in search of a particular statistic: not the list of teams that overcame such deficits (everyone knows the '42 Leafs and '75 Islanders, as well as that one baseball team, but this is about hockey, so focus!!) but rather the number of times a team has pushed back from the brink to tie the series, only to lose the ultimate rubber match. Well, here's a surprise. Ever since the Isles pulled off their stunner over the Penguins, exactly one series has gone from 3-0 to 3-3 -- the very next one between New York and the victorious Flyers. And before that, it only happened in 1945, with the Detroit Red Wings nearly avenging themselves against Toronto's triumph three years prior, and 1939, when Boston took three in a row but still needed seven to dispose of the NY Rangers. (Source: WhoWins.)

Now, I don't normally put a lot of stock in historical data. The success of the Ottawa Senators in their early-century incarnation certainly hasn't helped their modern counterparts. But for the latest potential installment in one of those "History Will Be Made" commercials to come down to two teams who have both been there before seems a little eerie. Obviously, I'm pulling for Boston overall, not least because I picked them beforehand and I want some of my calls to be right, but if Philly picks up their third win tonight, I can't really say I'll be disappointed. On the other hand, if Boston goes through and Montreal doesn't... well, suffice to say I've threatened several times in these playoffs to simply stop watching because I'm so darn mad, and what's one more more idle promise between friends?