Only four teams in NHL history have overcome a 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series, and NHL Tonight analyst and former Philadelphia Flyer Scott Hartnell played on one of those teams.
In 2010, Hartnell and the Flyers found themselves trailing the Boston Bruins, but they won Game 4 with an overtime goal from Simon Gagne and then won two more games to force a Game 7 in Boston. What was the key?
“You just have to believe,” Hartnell said. "It felt like we were playing better every game. Game 1 we weren’t very good. Game 2, a little bit better. Game 3, we were great — didn’t win. Game 4, we were winning that game and they scored with a couple of seconds left, tie it up and it’s, ‘Man, we aren’t going to get any breaks.'
“But we won that game. The confidence builds, and guys start puffing their chests out.”
In Game 7, the Flyers fell behind 3-0 in Boston, but then scored four unanswered goals — including one from Hartnell — to steal the decisive game 4-3.
“It was just amazing. The whole thing. It was almost like we won the Stanley Cup. And we went on to play for the Stanley Cup that year.”
While Hartnell holds fond memories of that historic comeback, his fellow analyst, Alex Tanguay, said the Lightning might benefit from a bit of amnesia.
“Mentally, if you’re the Tampa Bay Lightning, right now you just gotta forget everything that’s happened,” said Tanguay, who spent the 2009-10 season with the Lightning. “Put your best foot forward. The MVP of the NHL is probably going to get back into the lineup. Maybe a Norris-caliber defenseman hopefully gets more healthy. If those two get back in, you have all the elements in place to win some games.”
Tanguay said the Lightning have to start by just winning on Tuesday, and then winning at home on Friday to force a Game 6 on Easter Sunday.
Hartnell suggested to do the improbable, Tampa Bay needs to change the style of play that helped it win an NHL record 62 games.
“Columbus is not going to let them go run and gun like they did the whole regular season,” Hartnell said. “They’re going to have to change their game a little bit. Maybe take care of their own end, and when they get those chances they go full bore and get after it.
"So, a little bit of adjustment time for Tampa Bay. Obviously, it’s not working, what they’re doing.”
Contact Ernest Hooper at [email protected] Follow @hoop4you.