Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
With their 2-1 win last night, the New Jersey Devils became only the third team in NHL history to go from being down three games to none in a seven-game finals to win the next two games and force a Game 6. The Kings will try to end the series at home on Monday night.
Depending on which team wins the series, history will be made:
* The Kings are looking for their first Stanley Cup in the team’s 45-year history.
* The Devils, should they win the next two games, would become the first team in 70 years to win a Stanley Cup after being down 3-0 in the series.
The Kings are also looking to become the first team since 1997 to win the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals on the road and then win the title (The Detroit Red Wings in ’97 won the first two games of the finals on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers and then went on to sweep the Flyers in four games).
Since the 2000 playoffs, there have been 135 series played (not counting the 2012 Stanley Cup finals). In 29 of those series, the road team won the first two games of the playoff series. In 23 of those 29 series, that road team went on to win the series and advance to the next round.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what playoff round had the most series where the road team won the first two games of the series (since 2000):
Conference Quarterfinals: 15 (those road teams won the series 10 of the 15 times)
Conference Semifinals: 9 (those road teams won eight of the nine series)
Conference Finals: 5 (those road teams won the series each time)
The Kings are also the first road team to win the first two games of the series in each of four rounds of a playoff. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim won the first two games of the first three rounds of the 2003 playoffs as the road team. In the finals, however, they lost Games 1 & 2 to the New Jersey Devils.
In 1949, the Toronto Maple Leafs won Games 1 and 2 as the road team in the semifinals and the Stanley Cup Finals. Whereas the Maple Leafs accomplished this feat in two rounds of the playoffs, the Kings accomplished it this year in four rounds of the playoffs.
The Kings are the 12th team to win Games 1 & 2 of the finals as the road team in a seven-game series. Of the previous 11 teams to accomplish this, nine went on to win the title. Will the Kings follow suit?
Here’s a look at the road teams that won Game 1 & 2 of a seven-game Stanley Cup finals:
Year, Road team wins games 1 & 2 (series outcome)
2012 L.A. Kings (?)
1997 Detroit (won Cup over Philadelphia)
1995 N.J. Devils (won Cup over Detroit)
1990 Edmonton (won Cup over Boston)
1983 N.Y. Islanders (won Cup over Edmonton)
1970 Boston (won Cup over St. Louis)
1968 Montreal (won Cup over St. Louis)
1966 Detroit (lost Cup to Montreal)
1952 Detroit (won Cup over Montreal)
1949 Toronto (won Cup over Detroit)
1945 Toronto (won Cup over Detroit)
1942 Detroit (lost Cup to Toronto)
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
The NHL Conference Finals begin Sunday as the Los Angeles Kings travel to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes. The other Conference Final will begin on Monday after the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals play Game Seven on Saturday in their series to see who advances to face the New Jersey Devils.
Following are six stats you might not know about the NHL Conference Finals since 1980 (the last 31 years).
1. In the first two games of the Conference Finals since 1980, 30 of them had one of the teams take a 2-0 lead. In the other 32 series, the teams split the first two games.
2. In the 30 series where a team took a 2-0 lead, that team won the Conference Finals 28 times. The last team to fall behind two games to none in the Conference Finals and win that series was in 1991 when the Pittsburgh Penguins lost the first two games against the Boston Bruins and then won four straight to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
3. In the 32 series that started out with the teams splitting the first two games, there was no advantage by winning either Game One or Game Two of the series. The eventual series winner won Game One 16 times; the eventual series winner won Game Two 16 times.
4. When the series started out 1-1, the team that won Game Three went on to win the series in 27 of the 32 series. From 1980-1999, the team that won Game Three after the series was tied at 1-1 won 21 of the 22 series. In the 10 Conference Finals that were tied at 1-1 since 2000, the team that won Game Three has won the series six times and lost the series four times.
5. Of the 62 Conference Finals played since 1980, 10 lasted only four games. The series went five games in 20 series; six games in 19 series; and the series went the full seven games in 13 series.
6. There have been 59 overtime games played in the Conference Finals since 1980. The home team has won 29 and lost 30. The home team has won five of the last five overtime games in the Conference Finals.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp