It requires four victories for a team to win a best-of-seven-games playoff series. It’s often said that the fourth win is the hardest to get.
“The fourth one is the toughest to win” was cited in 1983. “We all know the fourth win is the toughest” was cited in 1989. “The fourth win is always the hardest to get” was cited in 1991. “We realize the fourth win is the hardest” was cited in 1996. The saying has been used most frequently in hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
Google News Archive
17 May 1983, The Post (West Palm Beach, FL), “A 4th Cup Is the Goal Of Islanders” (AP), pg. B3, col. 5:
Stefan Persson, a member of the Islander defense which, along with the superb work of goaltender Billy Smith, has shackled the highest scoring team in NHL history (424 regular-season goals), expects a titanic struggle in Game 4.
“The fourth one is the toughest to win,” said Persson.
25 May 1989, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, “Hot Al shoots down street” by Jim Morris (The Canadian Press), pg. 53, col. 1:
‘Fourth win toughest’
“We haven’t won anything yet,” he (Calgary Flames defenseman Al MacInnis—ed.) said. “We have one more win to do it. We all know the fourth win is the toughest.”
28 April 1991, Brandon (Manitoba) Sun, “Oilers try to put ‘89 playoff collapse out of their minds” (Canadian Press), pg. 13, col. 6:
“The fourth win is always the hardest to get.”
(Edmonton Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr.—ed.)
10 May 1996, The Advocate (Stamford, CT), “Penguins push Rangers close to elimination” (AP), pg. B1, col. 5:
The Penguins took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series and can advance to the conference finals with a victory in Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
“We kind of took the wind out of their sails, but we realize the fourth win is the hardest,” (Pittsburgh goaltender Ken—ed.) Wregget said.
Google Groups: alt.sports.hockey.nhl.det-redwings
Hey Avs fans, you’ve only won three....
I admit, it looks dim for us wings fans, but you still need four games before you can gloat with assurance. Given how streaky the Avs have been this year, they are as capable of playing like shit for two games in a row as they are of playing well. Until you win number four, you haven’t won anything. I can’t imagine the wings playing like crap FOUR games in a row (of course, I wouldn’t have thought they could play like crap for three in a row either). You need to win game six. If the wings take it, they will have the big MO on their side again and game seven would be in Colorado, hardly a friendly place for the Avs of late. Remember, the wings are still the champs. Let’s see if they have the heart of a champ. As quickly as this series turned around in game three, it could turn the other way in game six. The fourth win is always the hardest. And even if you do win the series, you still have to get by the stars (not likely).
Google Groups: alt.sports.basketball.nba.sac-kings
Lakers/Kings quotes 5/30/02
“You have to win. You have to beat them,” said Adelman, who doesn’t believe the Lakers are done taking their best shots. “But this team hasn’t felt like it’s won anything yet. It’s not done yet.
“The fourth win is the hardest one to get. You can’t assume you’ve got another one in the hole.”
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins
Pens Seek Difficult Fourth Victory at Home
Wednesday, 04.22.2009 / 3:18 PM ET / Features
By Sam Kasan
The Penguins gained valuable experience in these situations last season. Pittsburgh was ahead 3-1 against the New York Rangers and Flyers heading into a Game 5 at Mellon Arena. Each time the Penguins finished the job but they know that they’ll have to play their best to get that difficult fourth win.
“It’s always the toughest one to get,” center Sidney Crosby said. “We know that and realize that. A team doesn’t get any more desperate than in a situation like that. We have to use our experience from the past and make sure we come up with a big game. We all realize it takes four games. We’ve got three and it doesn’t get any easier. That’s our mindset.”
AHL Morning Skate: On the cusp of sweetness : They say the fourth win is the hardest one to get. The Hershey Bea.. http://tinyurl.com/m2mnbz
11:02 AM - 9 Jun 2009
Okotoks (Alberta) Western Wheel
Jr. Raiders headed to Game Seven
Lacrosse: Mountaineers rally off impressive win to send series the distance
Friday, Aug 09, 2013 10:48 am
By: Remy Greer
The fourth win in a seven-game series is always the most difficult.
Scranton (PA) Times-Tribune
Penguins focused on fourth win
JONATHAN BOMBULIE Published: May 19, 2014
In an effort to avoid falling into the same trap the P-Bruins did last season, the Penguins are repeating one of the most time-tested mantras in playoff hockey. The fourth win of a series is always the most difficult one to secure.
CBC News (Canada)
Calgary Flames: 4th win definitely the hardest
Flames expecting tougher challenge as the series moves back to Vancouver for Game 5
Posted: Apr 22, 2015 5:04 PM MT Last Updated: Apr 22, 2015 5:04 PM MT
The Flames can clinch the best-of-seven series in Vancouver Thursday. Calgary holds a 3-1 lead in the series after winning the past two games at the Saddledome.
"The fourth [win] is definitely the hardest,” said Flames rookie Josh Jooris, channeling his elder teammate. “Their backs are against the wall now. It’s a good position to be in, but I think we just got to take care of business, play a solid road game and hopefully get the job done.
The Journal News (Rockland-Westchester Counties, NY)
Rangers finally make it easy on themselves
Rick Carpiniello, 12:06 a.m. EDT April 25, 2015
Players and coached have said for decades, the fourth win is the most difficult to get.