Every year, one of my uncles organizes a family playoff pool. We each throw in a couple bucks and then try to predict the series winners from beginning to Cup winner before the first round starts. It’s a fun little challenge, and the $40ish you get if you win is a decent excuse to buy yourself something nice.
One of the things I find the trickiest about it is figuring out the San Jose Sharks. They’re almost always not a bad team, but for whatever reason they totally suck at the whole playoffs thing. So if you pay attention to hockey or even patterns at all you know they’re going out, but the question is when.
I like to think that over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at timing their inevitable exit, but this year I got it wrong. I had them getting past the Kings before biting it in the second round, but the tanking power of the Sharks knows no limits, it seems.
Last night’s 5-1 loss puts them in some pretty exclusive company, and that’s not good. They’ve become only the 4th team in history to ride a 3-0 series lead to playoff elimination. Here are the only other times that’s happened.
The Toronto Maple Leafs came back and beat the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Stanley Cup final. The New York Islanders, in only their third NHL season, came back against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarter-finals in 1975. And in 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers came back from 3-0 in the series as well as 3-0 in Game 7 to take the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Boston Bruins
And here are a couple of other stats that should tell you everything else you need to know.
After winning the first three games by a combined score of 17-8, they lost the final four by a combined score of 18-5. San Jose scored two goals in the final three games.
Well done, boys! See you next year for a while?