Last time NHL team came back from 3-0 series deficit was in the 2014 Stanley Cup First Round playoff. The Los Angeles Kings did so against San Jose Sharks.

It is definitely a daunting task to overcome from three games down, but several teams have proven that the feat is not impossible.

Throughout NHL history, there have been 203 instances where teams trailed 3-0 in a series. Of those, on 199 occasions, the franchise could not manage to bounce back.

However, against all expectations, there have been four extraordinary occasions when the losing team defied the odds and triumphed with a remarkable 4-3 series comeback.

In the 2023 NHL Conference Final, Dallas Stars face similar circumstances trailing the series 3-0. But they fought hard to win one game, giving a glimmer of hope for a remarkable comeback.

NHL Teams Down 3-0 To Win Series

NHL teams who won a series down despite getting behind 3-0 are:

  • Los Angeles Kings - 2014 
  • Philadelphia Flyers - 2010
  • New York Islanders - 1975
  • Toronto Maple Leafs - 1942

There have been only four incredible instances where teams overcame a massive setback. These teams were trailing behind with a score of 0-3 in their respective series, but they turned the tables around and emerged victorious in the end.

Starting with the recent comeback in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoff Round One, The Los Angeles Kings, who may deem the powerhouse, were handed a harsh blow with three consecutive defeats against the San Jose Sharks.

After hitting a bump on their title hope, the Kings turned the scoreboard on the Sharks. In the fourth game, the Kings scored an impressive 6 goals, winning by 6-3.

Kings wins their first Stanley Cup trophy in 2014
Source : pinterest

They tightened their defense in the remaining matches, only allowing 2 more goals in total. The Kings dominated the series, triumphing with a combined score of 12-2, including an emphatic 5-1 victory in the decisive Game 7, even though it took place on the Sharks' home turf.

LA Kings then went on to win the Stanley Cup defeating Anaheim, Chicago, and New York Rangers on the run.

Similarly, the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers faced a tough situation in their first-round series against the Boston Bruins. Things did not look good for the Flyers as they were 3-0 down after the first three games.

But Philadelphia remained composed and believed they could somersault the series, which they did by winning four games in a row. The Flyers then made it to the Stanley Cup Final but unfortunately fell short as they lost the trophy to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The only instance fans get to witness a 3-0 setback reversed in the championship finals series was in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs were down three games to none against the Detroit Red Wings. But against all odds, they fought back with all their might and turned the scores completely.

Maple Leafs lift the Stanley Cup in 1942
Source : reddit

They won four games in a row, making history by becoming the only team ever to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the finals.

Thirty-three years after the first 3-0 comeback in NHL history, New York Islanders became the second team to achieve the unachievable.

In the 1975 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Islanders and Penguins went head-to-head in the quarterfinals. The Penguins got off to a strong start, winning the first three matches of the series.

However, a tactical change by the head coach Al Arbour in the remaining games helped the Islanders topple the series. They played Philadelphia in the final four but lost the series 4-3.

Has Any Team Come Back From 3-0 In NHL?

Four NHL teams have made a comeback from 3-0 to tie the series but lost the decisive game seven.

Teams with unsuccessful comebacks attempts are:

  • Detroit Red Wings - 2011
  • Chicago Blackhawks - 2011
  • New York Islanders - 1975
  • Detroit Red Wings - 1945
  • New York Rangers - 1939

No team has ever returned from being down 3-0 in multiple series during a single postseason. However, in the 1974-75 NHL season, the New York Islanders came incredibly close to achieving this feat.

They succeeded in bouncing back from a 3-0 series deficit in the quarterfinals against Pittsburgh, and then they replicated it again in the semifinals. Unfortunately, their impressive comeback streak ended in the seventh and final game of the semifinals, resulting in their ultimate defeat.

Even before the iconic Maple Leafs' comeback victory in the 1942 final, the New York Rangers came near to becoming the first team to turn over the 3-0 series deficit.

Detroit Red Wings failed to qualify for the playoffs round in 2023 season
Source : twitter

In the 1939 NHL semifinal game, the Rangers were handed three straight defeats by the Bruins. But the Rangers put themselves back together and won the next three games as the series score reads 3-3.

But Boston managed to stop their incredible streak as they pulled off a grueling victory in the seventh game after three overtimes. 

On the other hand, the Red Wings came close to turning the series 360 degrees on two occasions but failed both times. Three years after losing a Stanley Cup to the Maple Leafs from a 3-0 leading position, Detroit had a golden opportunity to take perfect revenge in 1945.

In the rematch of the 1942 championship game, Detroit found themselves in a similar condition to Toronto three years back, losing the series 3-0 after the first three games.

They were on the verge of vengeance as the series was tied 3-3 after six games. However, their hopes were shattered in the final match when they suffered a crushing defeat, once again losing the championship.

Chicago goalie for the 2011 NHL season, Corey Crawford
Source : bleacherreport

Most recently, the Chicago Blackhawks and Red Wings failed to bounce back from three defeats, both in 2011.

In the Western Conference Quarterfinals, Chicago evened a series against the Vancouver Canucks after being down 0–3, only to lose in the decisive seventh game.

The same year, Detroit faced San Jose in the NHL semifinals. The Sharks took the first three games by storm, leading the series 3 to nil. However, Detroit pulled three back but eventually lost game 7.

Dallas Stars Came From 3-0 Deficit in 2023

Dallas Stars pulled one back on their run to comeback from a 3-0 deficit against the Golden Knights in 2023.

  • May 19: Dallas Stars 3–4 Vegas Golden Knight, 0-1
  • May 21: Dallas Stars 2-3 Vegas Golden Knight, 0-2
  • May 23: Vegas Golden Knights 4–0 Dallas Stars, 3-0
  • May 25: Vegas Golden Knights 2-3 Dallas Stars, 3-1

After beating the Seattle Kraken in the Western Conference Last eight playoffs, the Dallas Stars booked their place in the NHL conference finals to go head-to-head against the mighty Vegas Golden Knights.

Vegas, who had a smooth run, dominated the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers in the previous rounds are the top pick to win against the Stars.

Dalla Stars wins Game 4 against Vegas and kept the comeback dream alive
Source : instagram

In the close call first game of the series, Golden Knight came on top after an overtime goal to make it 4-3 and lead the series. In the Game Two of the series, the Stars lost again with a score of 2-3.

The series shifted to Vegas for the third game, where the Golden Knights dominated the Stars with a commanding 4-0 victory, taking a 3-0 lead in the series.

Dallas Stars Jason Robertson magical performance as he scored two goals to give a glimpse of hope for Dallas as they registered a win in the fourth game, resulting in a 3-1 advantage for Vegas in the series.

The Stars have the chance to be the fifth club in NHL history to surpass a 3-nothing disadvantage and make their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.