What sports history says about Oilers’ chances to erase 3-0 series deficit

NHL analyst Renaud Lavoie joins Kyper and Bourne to discuss the impressive fashion in which the Oilers won in Game 4 with their backs against the wall, and whether they have a realistic chance at history and erasing a 3-0 SCF deficit.

The odds are not in the Edmonton Oilers‘ favour.

Even after a huge 8-1 win in Game 4, the Oilers still need to rattle off three more wins against the Florida Panthers if they want to bring home the sixth Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Looking at the numbers, the chances they pull it off are minimal, to say the least.

In the history of the Stanley Cup Final, only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs have successfully accomplished the near-impossible task of rallying from a 3-0 hole since the championship series moved to a best-of-seven format in 1939.

The Maple Leafs won four in a row after losing three consecutive games against the Detroit Red Wings to bring home their second Stanley Cup that year. Toronto outscored Detroit 15-4 in the final three games of the series to end the historic run on a high note.

When you open things up to every round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the numbers don’t exactly get better for the Oilers.

Including the 1942 Maple Leafs, only four teams have ever erased a 3-0 deficit to come out on top.

The others were the 1975 New York Islanders, the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, and most recently, the 2014 Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings did it in Round 1 of the 2014 post-season, when they managed to pull off four straight wins to beat the San Jose Sharks. Los Angeles would ride that high all the way to a Stanley Cup victory.

So, you’re saying there’s a chance?

Five teams in NHL history have managed to come back from down 3-0 only to lose in Game 7. The two instances over the past 45 years both occurred in the 2011 playoffs, with the Vancouver Canucks surviving to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and the Red Wings falling to the Sharks after forcing a Game 7 in the second round.

But with the Oilers in “Cup or bust” mode, the moral victory of a Game 7 loss is surely not the outcome they’re hoping for.

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For all those Oilers fans who want to look to other sports for more reassurance, maybe it’s best if they don’t.

The odds actually get worse when you look at the two other major North American sports that feature seven-game series in the post-season.

In Major League Baseball, only the infamous 2004 Boston Red Sox have accomplished the daunting task when they came back to beat their rivals, the New York Yankees, in the 2004 ALCS.

The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series for the first time since 1918 and officially break the “Curse of the Bambino” that plagued Beantown for 86 years.

Things get even more bleak when you look at the NBA, as no team in league history has ever come back from 3-0 down in the playoffs.

The Dallas Mavericks are hoping to become the first team to pull it off in the 2024 NBA Finals, but are in the exact same spot as the Oilers — down 3-1 to the Boston Celtics after winning Game 4 and headed on the road for Game 5.

Four separate NBA teams have forced a Game 7 after falling down 3-0, but all have come up short on the final step. The Celtics did so last season in the Eastern Conference Finals, but couldn’t get past Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in Game 7.

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If you’ve read up to this point, you know the odds are stacked against the Oilers.

But don’t tell that to Stuart Skinner.

After the team’s Game 3 loss, Skinner was still in glass-half-full mode.

“I’m not too sure what the stats are coming back (from being down 3-0), but if anyone can do it, it’s the Oil,” Skinner said post-game.

That confidence clearly came through in Game 4, and with eight goals, the Oilers have to feel like they’ve maybe solved the Sergei Bobrovsky problem that plagued them through the first three games.

“It’s just one win,” McDavid said after Game 4. “Now, you want to go to Florida, do a job, and drag ‘em back to Alberta.”

You can watch McDavid and the Oilers try to bring the series back to Edmonton in Game 5 on Tuesday live on Sportsnet and Sportsnet+ starting at 8 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. MT.

And if the Oilers win that one, all of a sudden, they’re halfway up the mountain.

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