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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

A brief history of being down 3-0

Through three games of their Western Conference quarterfinal series, the Calgary Flames trail three games to none to the Anaheim Ducks. Given that they’re eliminated from the playoffs with their next loss, it’s obviously a less than ideal situation for them to be in.

But just how dire are the circumstances? Let us delve into a history of teams being down 3-0 in a playoff series.

Flames history

In their playoff history, the Flames have only been down 3-0 in a best of seven series four times prior to this year. They haven’t gone well.

  • 1974: The Atlanta Flames were swept in four by Philadelphia in the Flames’ first-ever playoff series. They lost three one-sided games to get down 3-0, then lost in overtime for the sweep.
  • 1983: The Flames managed to get to the second round, only to get steamrolled by the Oilers and lose in five games. They lost four very one-sided games, separated by a slim 6-5 win in Game 4.
  • 1988: The Flames were swept by the Oilers in the second round once again.
  • 1996: In Jarome Iginla’s first foray into pro hockey, the Flames were swept by Chicago.

The Flames have not been swept in 21 years. Granted, they missed the playoffs in 14 of those years, but it’s still something they’ve managed to avoid.

Overall NHL history

In the entire history of best of seven playoff series in the National Hockey League, only four times has a team that lost the first three games managed to come back to win it in seven.

  • The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (in the Stanley Cup Final).
  • The 1975 New York Islanders.
  • The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers.
  • The 2014 Los Angeles Kings.

That’s four times in 182 series where a team went down 3-0.

Recent NHL history

It’s established that it’s extremely rare for teams that are down 3-0 to win their series. But what about survival? Over the last five years of Stanley Cup playoffs, 16 teams have been down 3-0. How did they fare?

    Six of those teams were swept. Four of those teams lost in five games. Five of those teams lost in six games. One of those teams (the 2014 Kings) won in seven games.

Over the past five years of playoffs, teams that were down 3-0 had a 10-6 record in Game 4. The 10 teams that survived Game 4 had a 6-4 record in Game 5.

Winning the series is not likely. Surviving for a while? Statistically, it’s not all that uncommon.

    • Alberta Ice

      Totally with you. A win tonight gives us another chance. Wouldn’t it be something if this series went to a game 7 in Anaheim for all the marbles? Then the Ducks would have to deal with the pressure and curse of losing a 7th game at Home (like they did last year). And if the Flames don’t do it in this year’s playoffs, some other team might get that revenge chance in a 7th game with them. Stay tuned.

  • Alberta Ice

    The goal tending, plain and simple, has to be better. There can’t be a bad shot or fluke shot let in. The Ducks are proving there is no room for error in front of the net. Keep the puck out or we’re out. GFG

  • dontcryWOLF88

    I remember this team being counted out back in October. Personally, thats the main reason im still holding on to hope. Seems to me like sort of the same predicament the Flames were in at the start. Some questionable officiating, some bad luck, and a lot of hard questions especially on GG, the defence, and Elliot. Then it all swung back the other way. It takes a lot of heart to come back when people dont expect you to. This is a less forgiving challenge in front of the Flames here now, however, i’d say they have proven already they have the mental toughness to get that sort of thing done.

    Im still rooting for them, even if its not looking great. GFG!

  • Cyclops

    As an Oiler fan, I just want either team to beat out the California teams. A lot of us up here feel the same way. I like watching Kesler lose more than the Flames I think.

    • Alberta Ice

      As a Flames fan, I just want either team to beat out the California teams. A lot of us down here feel the same way. I think I’m with you for I like watching Kesler lose more than the Oilers. How disgusting it will be if the second round is a Battle of California and not a Battle of Alberta.

  • Juan Valdez

    The way the series played out was actually quite predictable based on how the regular season went. Our weaknesses were exposed, but we did make progress in a lot of key areas. Good teams get bounced in the first round all the time. It happened to the Sharks for a number of years. Just have to move on.

  • RKD

    The good thing is that it’s happened twice recently with LA and Philly it will still be a tall order that win 4 straight. Just get it back to Anaheim win game 6 and then gm7 is coin toss.