T he Nashville Predators have played in 9 Stanley Cup Playoff series and, thus, have played in 9 Game Twos.
In those 9 second games – including Sunday night’s 5-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference Semifinals – the Predators have only walked away with 2 victories.
In the 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinals, Nashville beat the San Jose Sharks at home before ultimately dropping the series 4-1. Last season, the Predators defeated the Vancouver Canucks on the road in double overtime to even up their series at a game each before finally dropping that series 4-2.
Nashville has lost the other 7 second games, including 5 of 6 on the road. Thus, historically, there is no surprise that Nashville faltered in Phoenix on Sunday night.
If Nashville can take any solace in the loss, it’s that history is on their side. The Predators have only won two series in their franchise’s short history, but in those two series, they lost the second game in both.
History is even more on Nashville’s side going into Game 3. Two times in franchise history has the team started a series 0-2, both against Detroit – in 2004 and again in 2008. In both of those series, the Predators immediately won Games 3 and 4 to tie the series back up.
Also in Nashville’s favor, their record in Game Threes is significantly better than Game Twos. So far, Nashville has been involved in 8 third games – Wednesday night’s game at Bridgestone Arena will be the ninth. Of those 8, Nashville has won 5. Of the three they lost, two were after Game 2 wins. The other was in 2006, when the Sharks beat the Predators in 5 games.
Down 0-2 in the series, if Nashville is able to look upon their performance historically, they can see that it is not yet time to panic.
However, their battle will become a significantly more uphill one if they drop to 0-3. Only 3 teams in the history of the NHL have returned from a 3-game deficit to win a playoff series – the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (Final), the 1975 New York Islanders (Quarterfinal) and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers (Semifinal).