How many 3-0 comebacks have there been in the NHL? Complete list of wonders in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

How many 3-0 comebacks have there been in the NHL?  Complete list of wonders in the Stanley Cup Playoffs

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Those aren’t just the famous words of Lloyd Christmas, Jim Carrey’s iconic character from ‘Dumb and Dumber’. That’s the phrase every hockey fan should mutter when watching their team lose 3-0 in a playoff series.

It’s hard to win a playoff series in hockey because the NHL postseason has long been considered one of the most evenly matched tournaments. It’s even harder to fight back when a team falls behind by several games.

For clubs with a 3-0 deficit, a comeback may seem like an impossible task, but it is not. Just look at the NHL history books.

The Sporting News takes a look at the four previous times an NHL team came back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.


How many 3-0 comebacks have there been in NHL history?

Only four teams have successfully fought back from three games to zero to win a playoff series 4-3: the 1942 Maple Leafs, the 1975 Islanders, the 2010 Flyers and the 2014 Kings.

Team Year Round Opponent
Toronto maple leaves 1942 Stanley Cup Final Detroit Red Wings
Islanders of New York 1975 Stanley Cup quarterfinals Pittsburgh penguins
Philadelphia Flyers 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals Boston Bruins
Kings of Los Angeles 2014 First round of the Western Conference San Jose Sharks

Maple leaves from 1942

The Maple Leafs became the first team to overcome an 0-3 deficit and remained the only one to do so in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Red Wings built a 3-0 lead in the 1942 championship series and led in Game 4 by scores of 2-0 and 3-2. But the Leafs hung in there, eventually forcing overtime and staying alive thanks to a game-winning goal from Nick Metz.

Toronto then defeated Detroit 9-3 in Game 5, shut out the Wings 3-0 in Game 6 and earned a 3-1 win in Game 7. It was the first time a Stanley Cup Final went the full seven games becoming the Leafs’ fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Islanders from 1975

The Islanders faced the Penguins in the quarterfinals of the 1975 NHL playoffs. Pittsburgh quickly built a 3–0 lead, prompting New York head coach Al Arbor to make a scoring switch from Billy Smith to Glenn “Chico” Resch.

The change in the crease paid off. Resch allowed just four goals in the final four games of the series, helping the Islanders to four straight wins to stun the Penguins. The series concluded with a 30-save shutout by Resch in Game 7, with captain Ed Westfall scoring the lone goal in the winner-take-all game.

In the next round, the Islanders lost to the Flyers in the semifinals.

Brochures 2010

It’s hard enough to fight back after three games in a series. It’s even harder to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a game where your season is on the line, but the 2010 Flyers accomplished both.

After dropping the first three games in their quarterfinal series against Boston, Philadelphia became the third team to overcome an 0–3 series deficit. The Bruins were one goal away from completing a sweep against the Flyers, but an overtime goal in Game 4 by Simon Gagne kept Philadelphia’s season alive.

The Flyers eliminated the Bruins in Game 5 and earned a 2–1 win in Game 6 to set up the decisive Game 7. It looked like the effort would be in vain as Boston built a 3-0 lead in the game. first period of Game 7. However, Philadelphia remained determined and tied the game in the second before Gagne scored the eventual winning goal in the third period.

Philadelphia advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, where the team lost to Chicago in six games.

Kings 2014

Things couldn’t have looked bleaker for the 2014 Kings after three games into their first-round series against the Sharks. San Jose defeated Los Angeles 6–3 and 7–2 in the first two games of the series, and a 4–3 overtime win in Game 3 gave the Sharks a 3–0 series lead.

Then Jonathan Quick and the Kings flipped a switch. Los Angeles recorded four wins in a row, beating their Californian rivals. All four wins were decided by at least three goals, as Quick only allowed two goals in the last three games of the competition.

It was the start of a magical run for Los Angeles. The Kings went on to defeat the Ducks in seven games in the second round, and then the Blackhawks in seven games in the Western Conference Final, a series considered one of the greatest playoff matchups of all time.

In the Stanley Cup Final, the Kings took on the Rangers in five games and won the club’s second Stanley Cup and second in a three-year span. The team set the record for most elimination games won in a single playoff year for a Stanley Cup champion.