I noted it last night, but the stunning thing about this WCF series is the contrast in power plays: the Sharks' power play has scored 3 goals on 29 shots; the Hawks' power play has scored 2 goals on 2 shots. That's not enough to offset the 5-on-5 disparity -- at even strength the Blackhawks have outscored Patrick Marleau 7 to 2.
But while fate has played these Sharks into a mostly-insurmountable 3-0 hole, I suppose it's worth noting that it's not an uncommon predicament in recent conference finals. In fact, since the lockout 60% of conference finals series have started with one team taking the first three games.
3-0 Conference Finals Leads since the Lockout:
|Conference Final||Series after 3 games||Decided in|
|2006 WCF||EDM 3, ANA 0||5 games|
|2007 ECF||OTT 3, BUF 0||5 games|
|2008 ECF||PIT 3, PHI 0||5 games|
|2008 WCF||DET 3, DAL 0||6 games|
|2009 ECF||PIT 3, CAR 0||4 games|
|2010 WCF||CHI 3, SJS 0||???|
This is not the same thing as building a 3-0 lead in an opening round series against a playoff pretender; all the teams in this table showed that they could regularly win through two earlier rounds in that playoff year. I'm not sure why the 3-0 conference final lead has become so common lately -- is it a result of early round upsets working their way out of the system, or is it just a case of fatigue kicking in? Maybe it's even just a story about building momentum through two rounds -- one team is better at carrying forward its winning habits.
Going on the precedent of results in the table above, seems that the Sharks are 80% likely to pull a win in G4 and extend the series; going beyond that seems really tough.