It doesn’t happen often in professional sports, so when a team comes back from a 0-3 deficit in a playoff series, it’s cause for much celebration. There will be plenty of celebrating in Wilkes-Barre as the AHL's Penguins achieved the feat over the Providence Bruins Wednesday night.
After a scoreless opening period, the Penguins dominated the second scoring four times and taking the wind out of the Bruins' sails. Providence was unable to solve Brad Thiessen as the Penguins goaltender recorded 34 saves for his second shutout in three games during the 5-0 Game 7 victory.
The Penguins became only the third team in AHL history to advance after being down 0-3 in a Calder Cup playoff series. The 1960 Rochester Americans and 1989 Adirondack Red Wings now have company. As does the Boston Bruins organization, who now have had teams blow 3-0 series leads at the NHL and AHL level, as Tim Rosenthal pointed out. (Wayne Whittaker also brings up the fact that poor Trent Whitfield was on the Bruins team that gave up a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.)
Games 1 and 2 were dominated by the Bruins, with 8-5 and 4-2 victories. They took Game 3 in overtime 2-1, but beginning with Game 4, it was Brad Thiessen time. The Penguins netminder took control and slowed the Bruins’ offense over the next three games making 31, 30 and 46 saves, respectively, forcing a seventh and deciding game, even after getting jumped by Graham Mink in Game 5 during a brawl.
Thiessen's shutout in Game 7 improved his already ridiculous stats. He leads all goaltenders with a 0.89 goals against average and a .970 save-percentage; he's also stopped 196 of 202 shots he's faced in seven starts. So, yeah, Thiessen's in some sort of zone right now.
The Penguins will now face the Syracuse Crunch in the Eastern Conference Final beginning Saturday night.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy