NEW YORK -- Just as the 2-0 lead within playoff games has become a curse this spring, the 2-0 series lead has also been something of a burden.
Three of the four opening-round matchups in the Western Conference featured blown 2-0 series leads by the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks. The Sharks even managed the historically improbable feat of blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Stanley Cup-favorite Los Angeles Kings, who hold a 2-0 series lead against the New York Rangers.
The other first-round series in the West also featured an early 2-0 lead by the Anaheim Ducks over the Dallas Stars that evaporated as the Stars bounced back to extend the series to six games before they blew a big lead in Game 6 and were eliminated.
In the second round, the Minnesota Wild, who won their series against the Avalanche in the first round after dropping the first two games, came back to force the Chicago Blackhawks into a six-game set after dropping the first two games on the road. The Kings opened with two straight wins against the Ducks and then lost three in a row before taking a second straight Game 7.
The finals series since the 2004-05 lockout have featured dramatic swings in fortunes as well, with series taking on the look of a rout but ultimately seesawing their way to six- or seven-game sets.
All of this is to say that as much as the Rangers look like a team that has squandered its way to an early exit from the 2014 Stanley Cup finals, having blown a two-goal lead in Game 1 and three two-goal leads in Game 2 before dropping both in overtime, maybe all is not lost.
Here's a look at some of those other series with two-game comebacks, how they changed and what can be learned from them by the Rangers.
Minnesota Wild versus Colorado Avalanche, first round, 2014
This was a homer series, with the visiting team dropping the first six games before the Wild were able to sneak a Game 7 victory at the Pepsi Center when Jared Spurgeon tied the game late and Nino Niederreiter scored early in overtime. The Rangers are 6-4 at home in the playoffs and are riding a two-game win streak at Madison Square Garden.
Chicago Blackhawks versus St. Louis Blues, first round, 2014
The Blackhawks dropped two emotionally charged games in overtime in St. Louis to start the series, but with captain David Backes not himself after a blindside hit courtesy of Brent Seabrook, who was suspended for three games, the Blues could not find enough offense to keep pace. St. Louis was outscored 14-6 while losing four straight and, in the end, did not get the kind of goaltending it needed from Ryan Miller to advance.
Not much chance of the Rangers silencing the Kings, though. They are the runaway leader in offense this spring, averaging 3.52 goals per game. In their last 20 games, the Kings have outscored their opponents 73-49.
Los Angeles Kings versus San Jose Sharks, first round, 2014