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Will The Bruins Blow A 3-1 Playoff Series Lead? A Look At The Odds

BOSTON — The Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins Sunday, forcing a decisive Game 7 Monday night in the teams’ best-of-seven playoff series, has dredged up some painful memories in these parts.

Maple Leafs left wing Clarke MacArthur beats Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for a goal during Game 5 on Friday. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Maple Leafs left wing Clarke MacArthur beats Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for a goal during Game 5 on Friday. (Charles Krupa/AP)

It was just three years ago that the Bruins built a 3-0 lead in their conference semifinal matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers, only to collapse in epic fashion.

But surely lightning can’t strike twice. Can it?

The odds, actually, are not as steep as you might imagine.

Almost 1 in 10 NHL teams trailing a series 3-1 have come back to win, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

And as the series wears on, of course, the chances for a comeback improve.

As of Monday, ESPN reports, 145 NHL playoff series have gone to seven games. And the team trailing 3-2 after five games has won 48 percent of the time.

Comebacks from a 3-1 deficit are more common in the NHL (24 times in 265 series, or 9 percent) than in the NBA (eight times in 214 series, or 3.7 percent), according to Elias.

But they’re even more frequent in Major League Baseball, where 12 of 77 teams (15.6 percent) trailing 3-1 have managed to pull out a series.

(Source: Elias Sports Bureau)

(Source: Elias Sports Bureau)

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