There is roughly a 10% chance that a team facing a three-one series deficit in the NHL will come back to win the series, though it’s a percentage that has jumped up from previous seasons. The Kings and Rangers both emerged from three-one deficits – Los Angeles having come back from a three-nothing deficit against San Jose – as part of the 27 all-time teams to advance from a 3-1 hole out of the 267 all-time teams faced with such a challenge.
According to Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, though, the pressure is on the team that holds a commanding series lead.
“I feel it’s on L.A,” Quenneville said. “Look back against Detroit. We came in here excited about being at home, taking advantage of the home crowd. I don’t want to say ‘loose,’ but let’s be excited about the opportunity. Let’s go. We’ve got to win one game here.”
He’s of course referring to the Blackhawks’ emergence from a three-one deficit to the Red Wings from a year ago. Chicago then defeated Los Angeles in five games and claimed its second Stanley Cup in four seasons with a six-game series victory over Boston.
This isn’t exactly uncharted territory for either team, according to Darryl Sutter.
“I think both teams are probably used to pressure,” Sutter said. “That’s how you get to the hundred-game mark or close to hundred-game mark. It’s what your players want and obviously what they thrive on. I don’t think it’s more on one team or the other.”
The Kings will have three chances to put away the defending champs, though that’s not exactly how they’re looking at the current situation.
“We want to finish it off, obviously,” Anze Kopitar said.
“I don’t think we feel too much pressure. I think we put ourselves in obviously a very good position right now. But we realize that it’s going to take our best game to finish this series off.”