BOSTON (CBS) — The Stanley Cup was not in the building for Game 5 on Thursday night, but a whole lot was on the line as the Bruins and Blues battled it out with a 3-2 series lead at stake.
According to the NHL, when a team wins Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to take a 3-2 series lead, that team has gone on to win the series 18 out of 25 times — a 72 percent success rate. That history dates back to 1939, when the Cup Final went to a best-of-seven format.
Overall, in all seven-game playoff series (not just the Cup Final), the team to seize a 3-2 series lead in Game 5 has won the series 220 out of 279 times, or 78.9 percent of the time. Interestingly, though, that success rate dips to 75.5 percent of the time when it’s the road team winning Game 5, as it was with the Blues on Thursday.
Of course, what happened in 1947 or 1968 won’t help the Blues this coming Sunday, nor will it hurt the Bruins. And as the 2011 Bruins showed, it is indeed possible to win the Stanley Cup despite losing a painful one-goal game in the fifth contest of the Cup Final. In a bit more relevant of a case study, this year’s Bruins showed that it’s still possible to win a playoff series despite losing Game 5 on home ice, as the Bruins won in Toronto in Game 6 before eliminating the Maple Leafs back in Boston in Game 7 in the first round of this year’s postseason.
If the Bruins can win Sunday night in Game 6, then it will be either team’s Cup to win come Game 7. History, though, has proven that to be a difficult road to travel.