NASHVILLE – There have been many firsts for the Blackhawks during this unprecedented run of success under head coach Joel Quenneville.
Most of those have been positive, but a negative is looming over his team on Thursday night.
After three sometimes uninspired and quite surprising losses to the Predators in their first round series, the Blackhawks find themselves on the brink of elimination in just the fourth game of the series. This has only happened once in the Quenneville era before this year and they were able to avoid a sweep then.
Now they have to do so or suffer through one of their biggest upsets in franchise history.
Speaking of the past, many Blackhawks fans have started looking back in the record books to find some hope for their top-seeded team as they face the prospect of winning four-straight games to advance.
Well, there is good news and bad news.
First with the latter – never in franchise history have the Blackhawks rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. The closest the came was in 2011 when they fell behind 3-0 to the Canucks but rallied to force a Game 7 before losing in overtime.
That’s the bad news but here is some good – it has happened before in the NHL and half of the occurences are not ancient history.
Just three years ago the Kings lost the first three games of the first round to the Sharks but managed to win four-straight to stay alive. They would eventually beat the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals en route to a Stanley Cup Championship.
In 2010 the Flyers pulled it off against the Bruins in a second round series, winning four-straight against Boston en route to an Eastern Conference Championship. They would go onto lose to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final as they won their first championship since 1961.
Previously the 1942 Maple Leafs (vs Canadiens, Stanley Cup Final) and the 1975 Islanders (vs Penguins, 1st Round) were the only teams to erase a 3-0 deficit.
Of course none of this comes into play if the Blackhawks can’t pull off a win in Game 4 on Thursday night. The last time the Blackhawks were swept in a series came in 1993 when they were knocked off by the Blues after earning the best record in the conference.
Quenneville and his players hope history doesn’t repeat itself. Making history is all that matters at the moment.