- The Edmonton Oilers are down 0-3 in their Western Conference Final series with the Colorado Avalanche.
- In all North American sports with a 7 game playoff format, the team with the 3-0 lead has gone on to win the series 98.7% of the time.
- There have only been five teams to come back from the 0-3 deficit to win the series with four in the NHL.
In our previous article, we looked at the dire circumstances of the Edmonton Oilers down 0-3 in their NHL Western Conference Final series against the Colorado Avalanche. In all North American professional sports that use a 7 game playoff format, the team winning 3-0–in this case, Colorado–goes on to win the series 98.7% of the time. All time, MLB, NHL and NBA teams are a combined 376-5 to win the series when up 3-0. That number is slightly higher at the conference final level–teams that are in the penultimate series in their playoffs leading 3-0 are 65-1 all time for a winning percentage of 98.9%. If there’s anything that can be considered ‘good news’ for Edmonton it’s the fact that four of the five teams to come back from an 0-3 deficit were in the NHL.
The first order of business for Edmonton is to win Game 4 and just stay alive in the series. This is precisely what we’ll look at in this article: the past performance of teams down 0-3 in the ‘win or die’ circumstances of Game 4. Once again, we’ll return to the excellent website WhoWins for their data on cross sport playoff series. In all sports, the team down 0-3 is 138-243 in Game 4 for a winning percentage of 36.2%. Not great, but not quite as desperate as the 1.1% series winning percentage for teams down 0-3.
Digging down into these numbers a bit we’ll look at home and away records in Game 4. Teams down 0-3 and playing Game 4 at home are 110-178 for 38.2%. Teams playing Game 4 on the road are 28-65 for 30.1%. These numbers aren’t particularly surprising. There’s significantly more teams down 0-3 playing Game 4 at home for obvious reasons: in most cases, the team with home field/court/ice advantage plays the first two games at home and the next two on the road. In theory, teams that are qualitatively superior to their opponents–such as winning home venue advantage for the playoffs–are more likely to go up 3-0.
Teams down 0-3 and playing Game 4 on the road are a different matter. In most cases, it suggests that *they* have home advantage but somehow they lost the first two games there followed by Game 3 on the road. This happens far less than the circumstances discussed in the previous paragraph. 288 of the 381 teams to go down 0-3 played Game 4 at home. Only 93 did so on the road. In other words, 75.6% of 0-3 teams played Game 4 at home with 24.4% playing on the road.
Specific to the NHL, the percentages are not much different than for all sports. Heading into this year’s playoffs, there were 199 times that a playoff team went down 0-3 in the NHL. 145 times, they faced a Game 4 situation at home much as Edmonton does in this year’s playoffs. The team down 0-3 has gone 55-90 in Game 4 in front of their home fans (37.9%). That leaves us with 54 teams down 0-3 playing Game 4 on the road with a record of 20-34 (37%). For those of you who are mathematically inclined, you’re already aware that totals up to an overall NHL record for 0-3 teams in Game 4 of 75-124 for 37.7%.
In the NHL Conference Finals, there have been 44 teams to go down 0-3 and as we noted in the previous article none have been able to bounce back and win the series. They have managed to win Game 4 on 18 occasions for a winning percentage of 40.9%–marginally better than the overall Game 4 record in all sports or the NHL. NHL teams playing Game 4 of the Conference Finals at home down 0-3 are 13-20 (39.4%) and on the road are 5-6 (45.5%).
No matter how you slice it, the Edmonton Oilers have a very tough assignment just to stay alive by winning Game 4. Colorado is a -125 road favorite in Game 4 with the total set at 6 1/2 OV or 7 U. If you think that the Oilers can become the sixth team to come back and win the series after being down 0-3 you can back them at BetOnline getting +1800. The Avalanche series price is -4000.