Facts and Figures: Maple Leafs make a historic comeback


The Toronto Maple Leafs made NHL history on Friday, rallying three goals in the final four minutes of the third period to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime in Game 4 of their qualifying series of the Stanley Cup, thus avoiding elimination.

The deciding fifth game will be played at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the central Eastern Conference city, on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, FS-O).The Maple Leafs’ victory marked the first time in NHL history for a team that faced an elimination victory after calling three goals with less than four minutes to go in the third period. Before Friday, the last time a team rallied three goals to avoid elimination was Game 3 of the 1936 Stanley Cup Final, when Toronto scored the first of four unanswered goals against the Detroit Red Wings with 6:51 left in the third period.

The Maple Leafs became the third team in NHL history to win a playoff game after following three goals in the final four minutes of the third period, joining the Edmonton Oilers in 1997 Western Conference Quarter-Finals Game 3 against the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Second round of the Western Conference 2017 against the Oilers.

Toronto won after trailing by at least three goals anytime in a postseason game for the third time in its history. In addition to Game 3 of the 1936 Cup final, they rallied to win 1993 Western Conference Semifinals Game 3 against Detroit. Mike Foligno, father of Captain Columbus Nick Foligno, scored the overtime winner for Toronto in that game.

Auston Matthews scored a power play goal at 1:10 p.m. in overtime Friday for the win, becoming the ninth different player from the modern-era Maple Leafs in the league (since 1943–1944) to score an overtime goal in a game where Toronto had to face elimination. He is the first since Travis Green to 2003 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Maple Leafs pulled off their unlikely comeback less than 24 hours after the Blue Jackets rallied three goals in the second period for a 4-3 overtime win in Game 3. Toronto became the first team in history of the NHL to overcome a deficit of at least three goals to win a game after giving up a lead of at least three goals to lose its previous game (regular season or playoffs).

The Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets series is the first in League history to feature a team overcoming a minimum three-goal deficit to win in consecutive games, as well as the fifth postseason series in history of the NHL to feature multigoal comeback wins on consecutive days. The others: the 1950 Stanley Cup final between the New York Rangers and the Red Wings (Game 6 and Game 7), the 1987 Smythe Division semi-finals between the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets (Game 3 and Game 4), the 1989 Patrick Division semi-finals between the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers (Game 1 and Game 2) and the 1995 Eastern Conference semi-finals between the Flyers and Rangers (Game 1 and Game 2).


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