Two springs ago, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks found themselves down 3-0 in the first round against the Vancouver Canucks. The series was over. And then it wasn't.
The Hawks won three straight games to force a Game 7, then Jonathan Toews scored with less than two minutes left to force overtime, before the Canucks finally escaped with a victory. Thirteen current Hawks played in that Game 7, and they hope to draw confidence from the experience.
"It's huge," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "Everybody's counting us out now except us in here. That's the only thing you can really do, is look back at past experiences and go from there."
There have been 229 teams that have trailed 3-1 in Stanley Cup playoff history. Twenty have come back to win. It last happened twice in 2010, as Montreal rallied to beat Washington, and Philadelphia became the first team since the 1975 Islanders to erase a 3-0 deficit, beating Boston. Daniel Carcillo was on that Flyers team that eventually lost to the Hawks in the Stanley Cup Final.
Joel Quenneville's St. Louis Blues won a first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes in 1999 after trailing 3-1.
"Things happen," Quenneville said. "Momentum -- we talk about how important it is come playoff time. [The Red Wings] obviously have it right now, but one game can turn everything around. And I think that's what we're looking for. I think the big picture looks pretty bleak, but at the same time, we've got two home games here. Go one at a time, and getting off to a big start is what we're looking for."
Said Jonathan Toews: "It just goes to show that things like that are possible, that we were very, very close to winning that series. I'm sure Detroit knows, and we know, that this series is long from being over -- that [Saturday] night's going to be the toughest game for both teams. We can keep that in our hip pocket, I guess, just knowing that if we win one game, we focus on one game at a time, there's a way out of it. We're not worried about winning three in a row yet, we want to win tomorrow and we'll go from there."