Thursday's Game 7 already holds some significant historic clout as just the eighth time a team has forced a seventh game after facing a 3-0 deficit, and regardless of whether San Jose survives or Detroit completes its daunting task, the result will be a noteworthy one in NHL annals.
However, a win by the Sharks would present an interesting quirk that would leave one of the League's wildest historical trends on the chopping block.
After Vancouver went through its nerve-wracking seven-game win over Chicago in the first round, many pundits were left to wonder if the emotional win over the Hawks would leave the Canucks ripe for a second-round letdown or perhaps too spent to chase after the Cup. But in the midst of the talking head chatter, not only did the Canucks manage to get past Nashville in six games, but many glossed over the fact that Vancouver was just the fourth team to take a 3-0 lead, get pushed to a Game 7 and still win the series.
The other three? They all won the Stanley Cup.
There are few omens better than a 100-percent success rate, but if the Sharks can get past Detroit Thursday night, not only will they become the fifth team to join that exclusive club, they'll also render that tidbit of history suddenly irrelevant. A victory would pit San Jose and Vancouver against one another in the Western Conference Finals and due to the obvious fact that someone will have to lose, that perfect Cup winning percentage will have to come to an end.
Of course, if the Red Wings win Game 7, the whole quandary will be moot and Vancouver can still keep the streak going. That said, winning the Cup would still require the Canucks to go through Detroit, and given the Wings' recent past, that may be a bigger obstacle than any peculiar factoid.
Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'
— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis