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Sharks Gameday: Cliches and Statistics

I think we're running out of sports cliches to describe where the San Jose Sharks sit. Backs against the wall, give a 110%, do or die, bla bla bla. Momentum does exist in sports, but it's not a game to game thing. It's more like an ebb and flow, and it can only last one or two shifts or it can last an entire playoffs. It's the kind of thing you can't really detect or define; you just know it when you see it.

Ron Wilson's been trying to psych his team up by talking about history. Well, here are some stats courtesy of WhoWins:

(Mike's note: Some of these numbers were compiled after looking at a bazillion tables. I might have made a counting error.)

-In NHL history, 150 teams have been down 0-3. Of those teams, only two have come back (1942 Maple Leafs and 1975 Islanders).
-Of those comebacks, one was for the home-team series and one was for the visitor-team series.
-The average win percentage of the team up 3-0 winning game 4 (in other words, a sweep) is 65.1%.
-One comeback was in the Stanley Cup Final (Leafs), the one was in the conference semifinal (Islanders)
-In the modern era, a Game 7 has only been forced twice, both by the Islanders in 1975 (one win, one loss). In the early days of the NHL, this happened a few times, such as the 1939 Boston win over the New York Rangers.
-In total, ten teams have come back to force Game 6. In the modern era, only five teams have done this, the most recent being the 2004 Colorado Avalanche--losing to the San Jose Sharks.

So, the whole deal is about making history, right? Well, the Sharks are in pretty rare company as it is, and if they pull off tonight, they'll be in even rarer company.

The big, big difference between a lot of 3-0 series and this one is that the games have been extremely tight affairs with a number of overtime periods and disallowed goals. For the Sharks, we all know how they can be topsy-turvey in a maddening way; at this point, I don't question their heart anymore, I question their smarts, because if they'd played smart the whole way through, we wouldn't be in this mess. Still, you learn from your mistakes, and this team has been set on proving to everyone that they could withstand adversity.

Well, here's the ultimate adversity. Let's take another step towards history tonight.

Go Sharks.