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(Mark J. Terrill)
(Mark J. Terrill)

How often do NHL teams <br>come back from down 3-1? </br> Add to ...

Things are starting to get interesting in Round 1, from an elimination point of view.

The first team can be handed its walking papers Friday night should the Pittsburgh Penguins or Detroit Red Wings lose their respective Game 5s, knocking out one (or two) of the favourites far earlier than anyone predicted.

Those series are just two of five that are at 3-1 right now, including every Western Conference match-up.

That's nothing like a 3-0 hole, as teams in the NHL often come back from down 3-1, but it's still hard to do. Only 9.5 per cent of teams in that situation have wound up winning the series, although that includes plenty of matchups more lopsided than these five.

Via whowins.com, here's a quick look at the historical record of teams in this situation:

Team with home ice down 3-1 Pittsburgh, Vancouver

These teams are in a better position, although not by that much. Historically speaking, teams that are trailing 3-1 but have home ice advantage in the series have gone on to win the series 12.5 per cent of the time (11-77).

Their record in Game 5, however, is quite good, as they have staved off elimination 56.8 per cent of the time (50-38).

Both of these teams lost the first three games of their series, which also changes things. Teams that have gone L-L-L-W in going down 3-1 have come back to win the series just three times in 60 situations in league history (5 per cent).

Team without home ice advantage down 3-1 Detroit, San Jose, Chicago

These teams are generally the underdog, down two games and forced to play Game 5 on the road.

Historically speaking, that hasn't helped, as they have come back to win the series only 8.1 per cent of the time (13-147) and have won Game 5 to extend the series only 35 per cent of the time.

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