The San Jose Sharks saved their season Sunday by beating the Vegas Golden Knights in double overtime, with Tomas Hertl scoring halfway through the final OT period on the power play to force Game 7. The game took nearly four hours, nearly 60 minutes longer than any other contest this post-season.
It was an oddity in a first round in which only six other games have needed extra time to find a victor, with three of those finishing less than five minutes into overtime and all but one finishing within 10 minutes (Colorado’s 3-2 win over Calgary on April 17 ended at 10:23) of the puck dropping for a fourth period. By comparison, the first round last season saw five games last longer than 60 minutes (four of the occurrences came between Columbus and Washington). In 2017? A whopping 18 first-round games needed OT.
The Sharks-Golden Knights game was a long one, no doubt, but it’s far from the longest. Of the 20-longest games in league history, eight came before the 1967 expansion, including the Detroit Red Wings’ and Montreal Maroons’ six-overtime tilt and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ and Boston Bruins’ six-overtime battle three years earlier. But what are the longest outings of the post-expansion era?
Dallas Stars vs. San Jose Sharks, 129:03 (May 4, 2008)
The Sharks were hanging on for dear life when they forced double overtime in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Stars. But unlike Sunday, which saw San Jose extend their post-season lives, Dallas came out on top after three-plus extra frames. Marty Turco had a busy night, stopping 61 of 62 shots to tie for the eighth-most saves in a winning effort, while Brenden Morrow’s seventh goal of the playoffs – scored at 9:03 of the fourth overtime – did in the Sharks. The game was the third to go to overtime in the series, with all but one contest finishing with a one-goal differential.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Dallas Stars, 138:06 (April 11, 2007)
It took Roberto Luongo six seasons to play in his first playoff game, and he made up for lost time with a spectacular post-season debut. Luongo made 72 saves in the seven-period contest, trailing just Kelly Hrudey (73 saves on April 18, 1987) and tying Ed Belfour (April 16, 2003) for second all-time among all goalies. That isn’t to take away from what Dallas did – they did score four goals on him during regulation – but no goalie in NHL history faced as many shots as Luongo that night. Henrik Sedin eventually ended the game with less than two minutes to go in the fourth overtime, giving Vancouver its first post-season win since 2004. The seven-game series featured four one-goal games and three shutouts.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 139:15 (April 24, 1996)
Before the Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby eras began, the Capitals and Penguins took part in one of the most memorable games in either franchise’s history. After Washington took a 2-0 lead, Pittsburgh stormed back thanks to goals from Jaromir Jagr and Petr Nedved, who had scored four goals in the first two games of the series. And with 45 seconds left in the fourth overtime, Nedved struck again, lifting the Penguins to victory and tying the series at two games apiece. The Penguins went on to win the series in six, but lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Florida Panthers.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim vs. Dallas Stars, 140:48 (April 24, 2003)
The Stars are no strangers to exhaustive games, but none have gone quite as long as the 2003 contest against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Game 1 of the second round. Midway through regulation, Anaheim had a 3-1 lead before Jason Arnott and Morrow forced overtime. After four scoreless frames, Adam Oates made a behind-the-back pass to Petr Sykora, who one-timed it past Marty Turco to give Anaheim the victory less than one minute into the fifth overtime.
The 2003 post-season was notorious for long games, with five reaching at least the third overtime. During the Ducks’ 21-game playoff run in 2003, Anaheim needed overtime in one-third of the games and three needed multiple extra frames.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 152:01 (May 4, 2000)
The Flyers and Penguins have had some fantastic playoff battles in the past, but nothing compares to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal in 2000. The marathon started at 7:39 p.m. on Thursday and didn’t end until 2:35 a.m. on Friday. That’s nearly seven hours. Alex Kovalev got the Penguins on the board 2:22 into the contest, and Pittsburgh held that lead until Philadelphia’s John LeClair scored on the power play at 4:47 of the third. Deadlocked, the two teams proceeded to play 92 minutes of extra hocke before Keith Primeau deked past Darius Kasparaitis and fired the winner over Ron Tugnutt’s left arm. Flyers defenseman Dan McGillis played a whopping 61:05, Jagr skated for 59:51 for Pittsburgh, and Tugnutt and Brian Boucher made 70 and 57 saves, respectively. Five of the 15 highest single-game ice time totals in NHL history came from this game.
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