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The Edmonton Oilers currently trail the Colorado Avalanche by 3–0 in the Western Conference series. We know that there is a small amount of precedent for an NHL team to come back from such a deficit. However, as someone who would love to see a Canada-based team win the Cup and has been let down for nearly three freakin' decades, I am steeling myself for some cruel disappointment.

The ultimate heartbreak scenario for me would be that Edmonton wins the next three games and then loses Game 7. How often has this happened in NHL history? In other words, in what playoff series has the record been AAABBBA, where "A" means a win by Team A and B means a win by Team B?

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Apparently I used the wrong search terms, because shortly after I posted the question I found the Wikipedia article on teams who overcame 3–0 series deficits, which includes unsuccessful comebacks as well. This has apparently happened five times in NHL history.

  • 1939 Stanley Cup semifinals: New York Rangers vs. Boston Bruins
  • 1945 Stanley Cup finals: Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
  • 1975 Stanley Cup semifinals: New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers
  • 2011 Western Conference quarterfinals: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks
  • 2011 Western Conference semifinals: Detroit Red Wings vs. San Jose Sharks

In all of the above listed cases, the team listed second ultimately won the series.

The 1975 Stanley Cup semifinals are a particularly interesting case, as the Islanders had come back from a 3–0 deficit against the Penguins in the previous round. In other words, had the Islanders won Game 7 of the semifinals, they would have completed comebacks from 3–0 deficits in two consecutive series.

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