Where is Don Metz when you need him?
Things certainly do not look good for the Pittsburgh Penguins right now. History tells us when a team grabs a 2-0 Stanley Cup Finals lead, they go on to win the series and the Cup 91% of the time.
Almost every source is citing a 97% success ratio, citing a 32-1 record for teams with such strangleholds, with only the 1971 Chicago Blackhawks failing to win the Cup despite the comfortable 2-0 lead over Montreal.
But in actuality there was two other teams that blew a 2-0 lead. In fact, one blew a 3-0 lead! The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs faced 4 consecutive elimination games, winning them all and digging themselves out of the biggest Stanley Cup hole in history.
Also, the 1966 Montreal Canadiens fell behind 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings, yet they rallied to win four straight.
Pittsburgh might want to find some salvation in the stories of '66 and '71 Canadiens and the '42 Leafs, to find inspiration if not a game plan.
In '71 Montreal's case the Canadiens suffered from a Stanley Cup let down after an emotional series with Boston. In addition, while most people will remember 1971 as the magical debut of rookie goalie Ken Dryden, the Canadiens dressing room was rife with controversy thanks to clashes with their coach. The controversy would boil over into the public eye after game 5.
The Hawks pounced early in the series, but were never able to put away the Habs. Somehow Montreal's players used the scandal to better focus on the task at hand. It's a good thing, too, as history would remember the '71 Canadiens in a much different light had they not won. Perhaps scandal focal point Henri Richard said it best when he said "I hope we forget everything except that we won."
In Toronto's improbable case coach Happy Day made several difficult decisions, benching a number of regulars for game four and inserting rookies who responded favorably to the pressure to win game after game.
Veterans Gordie Drillon, Hank Goldup and Bucko McDonald were all benched for the remainder of the series. In came Gaye Stewart and the real hero of the finals, Don Metz. Metz sparked the rally with 4 goals and 7 points in the final 4 games resulting in a most unlikely championship.
Pittsburgh needs find their own Don Metz.
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