Marcus Kruger’s game-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks came in triple overtime, nearly five hours after Game 2 of the Western Conference final had begun. Kruger’s goal, his second of the post-season, ties the series 1-1 as the two teams head back to Chicago for Thursday night’s game.
One of the great things about the Stanley Cup playoffs is that when it comes to overtime — and especially double-, triple- or even quadruple-overtime — it’s rarely the player you would expect to get the game-winner that eventually ends the game. Case in point: Chicago’s Marcus Kruger can now add triple-overtime hero to his resume.
In the role Kruger plays on the Blackhawks, he’s not exactly what one would call a sniper or a star. He’s a bottom-six center — one of the best in the league, at that — with some nice offensive tools that doesn’t find the back of the net very often. Granted, he’s usually playing out of his own zone which makes it tougher to score, but that he scored seven goals in 81 games doesn’t put visions of him scoring an overtime-winner into one’s head.
That’s why it was surprising when, of all people, Kruger found himself alone at the side of the Anaheim Ducks goal in triple overtime and evened the Western Conference final at one game apiece:
Kruger’s goal, which came 56:12 after the puck had been dropped for the first overtime, was his second of the post-season and only his sixth career playoff goal in 65 games.
The contest itself was one that in most timezones began Tuesday evening and ended in the early hours of Wednesday. In Anaheim, most likely thought a 6:15 p.m. puck drop meant getting home at a decent hour, but the contest didn’t draw to a close until 11:07 p.m. In the history of the Blackhawks, Tuesday’s game is officially the longest the team has ever participated in.
This is the second time this post-season that the Blackhawks have gone to triple-overtime and the club has won both games.