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Why the Preds Can Overcome a 2-0 Cup Final Deficit

Only Five of 50 Teams Have Come Back from 2-0 Deficit, But Preds Have Shown They Can Become the Sixth

by John Glennon @glennonsports /

Though they've controlled the majority of play through two games of the Stanley Cup Final, the Predators find themselves skating straight into some intimidating stats as they prepare for Saturday's Game Three.

Only five teams in NHL history - out of 50 - have rallied from an 0-2 deficit in the Final to capture the Cup.

But one gets the sense the Preds are hardly shaking in their skates as Music City gets its first chance to host a Stanley Cup contest.

Bouncing back following a pair of Cup Final losses, after all, didn't prove too daunting for two lower-seeded teams in the past eight seasons.

In 2011, the Boston Bruins returned home from Vancouver on wobbly legs, having suffered a pair of knee-buckling losses - 1-0 and 3-2 in overtime - to the Canucks in Games One and Two.

But being back in Beantown made all the difference in the world to the Bruins, who crushed the Canucks 8-1 in Game Three and evened the series with a 4-0 victory in Game Four. The Cup Final would go the full seven games that year, before the Bruins - on the road - claimed the crown with another 4-0 win.

Only two years earlier, the Pittsburgh Penguins had used a similar formula to bring home a title in 2009.

A Penguins team, led by then 21-year-old Sidney Crosby, lost two road games to a more experienced Detroit squad. But the Pens rebounded with back-to-back victories in the Steel City and eventually wrestled the Cup from the Red Wings in Game Seven.

One thing both the Penguins and Bruins had in common when mounting their comebacks against higher-seeded foes? They both took full advantage of their own ice, each team winning all three of their home games before eventually claiming one critical road victory.

That's one of the main reasons the Preds should feel a sense of confidence heading into Game Three. The Predators have turned eardrum-busting Bridgestone Arena into a fortress during the playoffs, posting a 7-1 home record - the only loss an overtime defeat at the hands of Anaheim.

"You look at our record at home, what we've been able to do and the confidence we've played in this building," Predators Captain Mike Fisher said. "There's a reason they call it home-ice advantage. We've taken full advantage of that, and we're going to take confidence into Game Three, knowing we play really well at home."

It was home ice in last year's playoffs, Predators fans will recall, that helped a weary Preds team rally from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits during Nashville's Second Round series against San Jose. The Preds claimed all three contests in Music City, stretching the favored and fresher Sharks to seven games before falling.

"You use that energy in the arena," Preds forward James Neal said. "Everyone will be pulling for us and cheering us on, and it's a place we feel comfortable. We're confident we can win a game. We'll be ready to go and excited."

It's not just the Preds' record on home ice, however, that should keep Nashville fans optimistic.

The fact that the Predators have been the better team for long stretches of this series' first two games should inspire confidence as well.

In those two contests, the Predators have outshot the Penguins 64-39, which included the mindblowing 37-minute stint in Game One that Pittsburgh was held without a shot on goal. Maybe even more telling is the fact that the Preds - per the website - have 15 high-danger scoring chances through two games, compared to only seven for the Penguins.

More numbers?

The Predators are dominating puck possession, evidenced by Corsi ratings though two games, which show Nashville has taken more than 60 percent of the series' shot attempts - not just shots on goal - through two games.

"The things we need to do, for the most part we're doing them," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "We can find confidence in that we're playing a good game, a good brand of hockey. We just need to continue to do that and limit chances [against] and mistakes."

Would the Predators rather be up 2-0 or tied 1-1 in this series as it moves to Nashville?


But 0-2 hills have been climbed before in the Stanley Cup Final, and there are reasons to believe the Predators can master that ascent as well.

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