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Lessons from 1971: Dryden says two-game Cup hole isn't insurmountable

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Lessons from 1971: Dryden says two-game Cup hole isn't insurmountable

The Canadian Press
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And the man who backstopped the last team to do it - the 1971 Montreal Canadiens - says the Ottawa Senators should not be considered down and out just yet as series returns to the Canadian capital for Game 3 on Saturday night.

"Every series takes on its own dynamic," Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden said Thursday from his current job as an elected member of Parliament.

"Not everything went wrong in these first two games and right now the Senators are developing a plan to approach the third game differently. It doesn't take much to shift how a series goes. These games have been decided each by one goal. And it doesn't take much to shift that."

According to the NHL, the other teams to win the Stanley Cup after falling behind 2-0 are the '66 Montreal Canadiens and '42 Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Anaheim Ducks narrowly won Games 1 and 2 on home ice, but they dominated the Senators in both contests with fearsome forechecking and body work.

That has many hockey observers counting Ottawa out.

History agrees. The visiting team has lost two straight games to begin the Stanley Cup final 30 times in league history, and 29 of those teams failed to rebound.

Dryden was an unknown rookie - without even a full season warming an NHL bench - when he stepped in to the Montreal goal in the spring of 1971.

The Habs lost the first two games of the final to the Blackhawks in Chicago, won the next two at home in Montreal, lost Game 5 on the road, won again at home and claimed the Cup in Game 7 at Chicago Stadium.

"A little bit more space, a little bit more opportunity for people who can score, the dynamic can shift on a dime," said Dryden.

He's been impressed by the Anaheim youngsters Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, but says Ottawa is the faster, more skilled team to the Ducks' brawny, defensive game.

"It's a nice contrast of styles," said Dryden. "You usually find answers to size and strength with quickness.

"So they're a quicker team than Anaheim. You can make a big, strong team look inept with your quickness."

"How do you do that? That's up to (Ottawa) to find out . . . That's why it's great to watch."

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Lessons from 1971: Dryden says two-game Cup hole isn't insurmountable