Teams that won the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the series 25 of 26 times. Will the Kings make it 26 for 27 Friday night at Staples Center against the New York Rangers?
A sixth game, if necessary, would be played on Monday at Madison Square Garden. That’s two days to listen to players on each side insist the pressure is really on the other team, how they haven’t played their best game yet, and all the other standard clichés.
The only team that erased a 3-0 deficit in the Final was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who rallied to overtake the Detroit Red Wings. That feat has since been pulled off in earlier rounds three other times, including the Kings’ comeback in the first round this spring against San Jose
Courtesy of the NHL, here are some pregame notes to peruse while getting your game face on for Game 5.
--Teams with a chance to win the Cup on home ice are 41-20 (.672) since the best of seven format was adopted in 1939. However, that stat is merely 7-8 (.467) since 2000. The Cup has been clinched on the road in five of the last six seasons, with the Kings being the exception when they won at Staples Center in 2012.
--The Rangers are 11-2 in their last 13 playoff games when facing elimination, including 5-0 this spring. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has started all 13 games and has compiled a 1.30 goals-against average, .959 save percentage and two shutouts in those games. During these playoffs he’s 5-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .971 save percentage.
--The Kings have won 16 of their last 21 home playoff games since June 11, 2012, when they clinched their first Cup championship against New Jersey.
--The Kings will tie an NHL record Friday by playing their 26th playoff game. The 1987 Philadelphia Flyers and 2004 Calgary Flames, coached by current Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, previously played 26 games.
--The Kings on Friday will play their 63rd playoff game dating to 2012, tying the NHL record set by Dallas (1998-2000) and matched by Detroit (2007-09). That’s a lot of hockey.
--The Kings’ playoff ice time leaders are Drew Doughty, at an average of 28 minutes and 14 seconds per game, followed by Jake Muzzin (22:50), Slava Voynov (22:41), Willie Mitchell (21:31) and the only forward in the group, Anze Kopitar (20:51). The Rangers’ ice time leaders are Ryan McDonagh (26:10), Dan Girardi (23:40), Marc Staal (21:26), Anton Stralman (20:39) and the only forward in the group, Derek Stepan (19:15).
--Hit leaders: For the Kings, Dustin Brown (119), followed in the hit parade by Jarret Stoll (93) and Voynov (77). For the Rangers, Girardi (76), Brian Boyle (64) and Mats Zuccarello (54).