Remembering the longest games in Stanley Cup Playoffs history

Brayden Point’s goal in the fifth overtime period got the Lightning a 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets for a hard-fought 1-0 series lead.

The first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs got off to a memorable start with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets requiring five overtime periods to determine Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

The game lasted a whopping 150:27 but surprisingly it didn’t even crack the top three in terms of longest games in NHL history. With that in mind we wanted to look back at every game in NHL history that required quadruple or quintuple overtime in both the pre- and post-expansion era.

Post-expansion era…

There have been eight games in the past 69 years that have required more than three overtime periods. Here’s what happened in those games and below that a look at the longest games in the pre-expansion era.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – May 4, 2000

The longest game in modern NHL history remains this battle of attrition between these Pennsylvania rivals. The game ended when Keith Primeau wired a shot past Penguins netminder Ron Tugnutt at 12:01 of the fifth overtime period.

Flyers defenceman Dan McGillis, who recorded an assist on Primeau’s winner, logged 61:05 of ice time which was a record at the time. Penguins forward Jaromir Jagr was on the ice for 59:08, which remains an NHL record for most ice time in a single game from a forward since the league began recording the stat.

Pittsburgh had a 2-0 series lead but Philly won four straight games to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Columbus Blue Jackets – Aug. 11, 2020
Several NHL records were broken in the 3-2 Lightning victory. Tampa fired a record 88 shots on Joonas Korpisalo who subsequently made a record 85 saves. Blue Jackets defenceman Seth Jones set a new NHL record with 65:06 of ice time before Brayden Point got the winner.

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim vs. Dallas Stars – April 24, 2003

Game 1 of this Western Conference semifinal was a marathon. Eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 60 of 63 shots, while Stars defencemen Sergei Zubov (63:51) and Derian Hatcher (62:02) both broke the record for most ice time in a single game that McGillis set three years prior. Zubov held that record until Seth Jones passed him last night.

Petr Sykora scored 48 seconds into the fifth overtime period and Anaheim won 4-3.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals – April 24, 1996

At the time, this was the longest game in nearly a decade. Petr Nedved tied the game at two goals apiece eight minutes into the third period and then scored his sixth of the playoffs with 45 seconds remaining in the fourth OT stanza to give the Penguins a 3-2 win.

Jaromir Jagr led both teams with 12 shots on goal and assisted on Nedved’s game-winner. Olaf Kolzig made 62 saves in a losing effort.

Dallas Stars vs. Vancouver Canucks – April 11, 2007

Game 1 of this back-and-forth quarterfinal series required seven periods to determine a winner.

The story of this game was Roberto Luongo who stopped 72 of the 76 shots he faced and came one save short of tying the record at the time. The 132 combined shots from these teams was a record that stood until Tampa Bay and Columbus combined for 151 shots.

With a fifth overtime period looming, Henrik Sedin slid one by Marty Turco after a nice pass from his twin brother, Daniel, for the 5-4 win.

San Jose Sharks vs. Dallas Stars – May 4, 2008

One year after Dallas lost an epic showdown to the Canucks, they felled the Sharks 2-1 in quadruple OT.

Not only did Brenden Morrow’s goal end the game but it eliminated the Sharks and advanced the Stars to the Western Conference Final. Sharks defenceman Brian Campbell logged 56:23 of ice time, which currently stands as the 10th-most for a single game in league history.

New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals – April 18, 1987

This game is known as “The Easter Epic” and it’s remembered for Kelly Hrudey’s then-record 72-save performance and Pat LaFontaine’s winning goal that resulted in Bob Cole’s memorable “LaFontaine at the blue line” call. It is the longest Game 7 in NHL history.

Hrudey reflected on that game and commented on his record being broken after 33 years by Korpisalo.

Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils – April 27, 1994

It’s one of the all-time great goaltending performances that doesn’t get much attention.

Dominik Hasek had a 70-save shutout to help his Sabres beat the Devils in Game 6 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal match-up. It’s the most saves made by a goalie in a shutout win in NHL history.

Dave Hannan was set up by Jason Dawe and Wayne Presley at 5:43 of the fourth OT. Hasek won his first Vezina Trophy that year and went on to win the award in five of the next seven seasons.

Pre-expansion era…

Prior to the NHL expanding in 1967, there were six occasions on which three overtime periods wasn’t enough.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Maroons – March 24, 1936

The longest game in NHL history remains this 1936 doozy that saw a total of one goal scored in 176:30 of gameplay. Rookie forward Modere “Mud” Bruneteau notched the winner and the Red Wings went on to sweep the series before beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Final for the franchise’s first championship.

Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs – April 3, 1933

The second-longest game in NHL history was also a 1-0 contest. This one lasted 164:46. Toronto forward Ken Doraty scored the lone goal in the deciding game of the best-of-five series. After beating the Bruins, the Maple Leafs were defeated by the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings – March 23, 1943

Jack McLean scored the winning goal just past the mid-way point of the fourth overtime period to tie this semifinal series 1-1. Toronto ended up losing the series in six games and Detroit went on to sweep the Bruins and win the Stanley Cup.

New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens – March 28, 1930

Gus Rivers only scored six total goals in his NHL career for the Canadiens and one was at the 8:52 mark of the fourth overtime in Game 1 of this best-of-three series. Montreal rode that momentum, beat the Rangers and then the Bruins en route to winning the franchise’s fourth championship.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Detroit Red Wings – March 27, 1951

Maurice “Rocket” Richard beat Calder Trophy-winning netminder Terry Sawchuk to give the Habs a 3-2 win in Game 1 of this semifinal series.

Game 2 went into a third OT with Montreal winning that game also. They won the series but lost to the Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup Final.

New York Americans vs. New York Rangers – March 27, 1938

Lorne Carr lifted the Americans past their New York rival in dramatic fashion to win this best-of-three series 40 seconds into the fourth OT.

“If ever I had a test of my mental and physical conditioning, this was it,” Carr said of that game.


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