Despite trailing at the moment, these three teams have the best chance of making a comeback in their series.
As the second round of the playoffs rolls on, the Capitals, Islanders, Stars, and Predators are all trailing their series heading into Thursday’s action.
A one or two game deficit in the NHL is nothing to get too worried about. There have been many memorable comebacks from even 3-0 leads in recent years.
So don’t count any team out just yet. These are the three teams with the best chance of making a comeback in their series:
NEW YORK ISLANDERS, down to 2-1 to Lightning
Were it not for New York’s inability to hold a lead in Game 3, it would be the Tampa Bay Lightning chasing the Islanders come Game 4. The Islanders pulled ahead of the Lightning three separate times Tuesday night and each time the Lightning were able to equal the score, including a game-tying goal with 39 seconds left to force overtime.
And even though the Islanders are coming out of a first-round series against the Florida Panthers that saw nine goals scored across 13 periods in the final three games, it’s not offense that’s been the problem. Turning the series around will require an attention to detail on defense and improved play from goaltender Thomas Greiss. Through Game 1, Greiss had a 1.94 goals-against average and .944 SP in eight games this post-season, but he’s posted an ugly 3.97 GAA and .887 SP over his past two outings.
That’s not to say offense can’t make a difference. John Tavares has yet to have his one, breakout game against the Lightning. If that comes in Game 4, New York could be heading back to Tampa Bay with a chance to pull ahead. (Jared Clinton)
WASHINGTON CAPITALS, down 3-1 to Penguins
There’s plenty of reason to fear for the Washington Capitals’ playoff lives right now. We saw it on Alex Ovechkin’s face after Patric Hornqvist’s overtime winner put the Pittsburgh Penguins up 3-1 in the series. But I’m not ready to write off the Caps yet. For one, they’re heading back home, where the fans will Rock the Red at the Verizon Center. This team will be fired up.
Secondly, the Caps finished first overall and flirted with the single-season wins record for a reason. They are rich in talent, especially up front. “Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson and Braden Holtby play really well in Game 5” is hardly a far-fetched storyline. Washington has also controlled the play in terms of possession numbers in the past two games despite losing both. All four games of the series have been decided by a single goal, two in overtime and one with less than five minutes remaining. This series is far closer than the 3-1 margin indicates, and the final three games could go either way. The Caps still get two of the next three at home if they stay alive. It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see them come back, even if the Penguins are favored to win the series now. (Matt Larkin)
NASHVILLE PREDATORS, down 2-1 to Sharks
For me it’s Nashville because I thought the Predators were dead in their series against Anaheim and they came back and made me look dumb. For a team to blow a 2-0 series lead, then win two straight elimination games against one of the top teams in the Western Conference is impressive. So being down one game to San Jose after three matches? Not a big hill to climb. Having a Stanley Cup-winning coach in Peter Laviolette helps, as does the talented D-corps giving up just 29 shots per game (third-best among remaining teams). And, Pekka Rinne is back to being Pekka Rinne, so I can definitely see the Preds grinding out more wins with their backs to the wall. (Ryan Kennedy)