Yes, last night’s Canada/Russia game is going to hurt for a while. A long, long while. However, before we never speak of it again and do our best to wipe its memory from our brains, it’s important to recognize that we’re not alone in our agony. Sometimes just knowing that others have felt as badly as you do is a great way to cope with pain.
And thus we present you with five other epic collapses. Each of these games gave fans of the losing team the same horrible, sickening feeling that we all woke up with this morning. Each of these games also gave the winners the insane feeling of elation that the Russian team felt last night.
Strangely enough, the logical next step to anyone on either side of that emotional spectrum is alcohol and lots of it (as Team Russia so aptly demonstrated at a Buffalo airport this morning.)
The term “epic fail” is tossed around a lot these days, but in these cases it’s actually appropriate.
Montreal Canadiens versus New York Rangers – February 19, 2008
The Rangers built up a 5-0 lead before watching it all fall apart around them. Michael Ryder scored midway through the second period to make the score 5-1. He scored again minutes later and it was 5-2. The Canadiens kept coming and they won the game 6-5 in a shootout.
St. Louis Blue versus Toronto Maple Leafs – November 29, 2000
The Toronto Maple Leafs were leading the game 5-0 in the third period. Then Chris Pronger scored off of the faceoff and it was all downhill from there for Toronto. The Blues stormed back and tied the game with 24 seconds left in the third. They completed the comeback in overtime with a goal by Jochen Hecht 18 seconds into the extra period.
Colorado Avalanche versus Florida Panthers – March 3, 1999
The Panthers were up 5-0 in the second. Pavel Bure had a hat trick and it looked like everything was going the Panthers’ way. Then Peter Forsberg scored to make it 5-1. He wasn’t done. The Avalanche entered the third period trailing 5-1, but Forsberg carried his team to a 7-5 regulation win. He ended the game with three goals and three assists, including the seventh and final goal.
Los Angeles Kings versus Edmonton Oilers – April 10, 1982
This game is known as “The Miracle On Manchester.” With their best-of-five series tied at a game a piece, the Oilers built up a 5-0 lead over two periods and it looked like they would be taking the series lead. However, Jay Wells scored for the Kings in the third to end Grant Fuhr’s shutout bid. The Kings kept coming and they tied the game at five with just seconds left on the clock. They would go on to win the game in overtime 6-5 and then win the series in five games. It’s considered by many to be the greatest playoff upset of all time.
Philadelphia Flyers versus Boston Bruins – May 14, 2010
Not only did the Flyers come back from a 3-0 deficit in this game, but they came back from a 3-0 hole in the series as well. The Flyers completed the comeback in stunning fashion against Boston and went on to the Stanley Cup Final while the Bruins were left wondering what went wrong.
So, not that it’s much consolation, but Team Canada isn’t the only team to fall apart and blow a big lead.