The Stanley Cup Playoffs provide us with some of the best drama in sports, with their greatest offering being the glory of sudden-death overtime. No sport makes you switch from oh-man-oh-man-this-is-good-this-is-good to THIS-IS-BAD-THIS-IS-BAD quicker than hockey, which becomes doubly painful when “this is bad” turns into “that happened” and the finality of your favourite team’s loss starts to hit home.
Sometimes we’re treated to an extra 100 minutes, sometimes 100 seconds, but at some point the game just…ends. Abruptly. The game is over, pack up your belongings and go, there’s nothing else to see here.
With the Stanley Cup Final getting under way tonight, it’s the perfect time to look back about how we got here (and to cross our fingers hoping we get more OTs). The two teams in the Final happen to show up below in nine of the 24 extra-time games.
April 30: Chicago 2 – Minnesota 1 Details: Bryan Bickell, 16:35 into the 1st OT
The first OT winner of the Stanley Cup playoffs came, fittingly, courtesy the Chicago Blackhawks. This one was a bit of a bummer because the Wild had been forced to panic-start Josh Harding after Niklas Backstrom hurt himself in warm-ups, and you hoped for a better fate for him. But the Wild were going down one way or another, so maybe it’s better that, like Old Yeller, they get put down before it got too painful.
April 30 – St. Louis 2 – Los Angeles 1 Details: Alexander Steen, 13:26 into the 1st OT
The Kings obviously got it together and got themselves into the Conference Final, but yeah: haha to Jonathan Quick’s play there.
May 2 – Detroit 5 – Anaheim 4 Details: Gustav Nyquist, 1:21 into the 1st OT
How amazing was this Valterri Filppula toe-drag-slash-first-person-shooter-strafe mode play? I mean, amazing for Nyqvist, a rookie, to get the winner and all, but I’m about the pass on this play. This was a solid step for the Wings en route to “upsetting” the higher-seeded Ducks in the first round. I put “upsetting” in quotes because “The Red Wings upset the Ducks” just never sounds right.
May 3 – San Jose 3 – Vancouver 2 Details: Raffi Torres, 5:31 into the 1st OT
Hey, remember when Raffi Torres was allowed to play in playoffs? Seems like forever ago.
The craziest part of this goal was the pass Brent Burns makes because of the lack of smoke and mirrors. His slick move to sneak over the pass over was apparently:
A) Show pass
B) Make it look like he’s probably going to pass
C) Stare at the player he’s going to pass to
D) pass it
…And somehow that worked.
May 4 – Washington 1 – NY Rangers 0 Details: Mike Green, 8:00 into the 1st OT
Let this be a lesson to all you kids out there: if you bite on a Mike Ribiero slapshot on a team where Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green are cocked to take one-timers, you are going to lose that game. You deserve to lose that game. I’ll use advanced hockey logic to explain why: Mike Ribiero is more likely to pass to the better shooters. There. If you don’t know, now you know, as Biggie wisely once said.
May 5 – Pittsburgh 5 – NY Islanders 4 Details: Chris Kunitz, 8:44 into the 1st OT
Remember when the Penguins needed two overtime wins to dispatch of the New York Islanders in six games? Man, did we give that team too much credit. ANYWAY, this is a lovely little play, but nothing is better than Evgeni Nabokov’s attempted glove flail. It’s like he’s trying to swat away a super-aggressive bee from his allergic six-year old at a summer picnic.
May 5 – Minnesota 3 – Chicago 2 Details: Jason Zucker, 2:15 into the 1st OT
“Jason Zucker OT winner over the Chicago Blackhawks.” That’s the whole punchline.
Actually, no wait, can make the punchline a .GIF of the Chicago defenders behind the net? They were hilarious on that play.
May 6 – Detroit 3 – Anaheim 2 Details: Damien Brunner, 15:10 into the 1st OT
Homestar Brunner with the winner, but it was Nyqvist who deserves the love for that display of speed. If I learned anything in this post-season, it’s that the Wings are more than just Zetterberg and Datsyuk now. Young Gustav is a lot to handle. “Young Gustav” is also a handle that’s pretty cool, and sounds like something a rapper would adopt.
May 7 – Ottawa 3 – Montreal 2 Details: Kyle Turris, 2:32 into the 1st OT
This Kyle Turris OT winner was just a pile of bad luck for Montreal – like, it went in a pocket the size of a puck – but when they say you “make your own luck” I think that includes “putting Petr Budaj” in net. Funny how you always seem to have “worse luck” with worse goalies in net.
May 7 – San Jose 4 – Vancouver 3 Details: Patrick Marleau, 13:18 of the 1st OT
It’s captain un-clutch (according to Jeremy Roenick) Patrick Marleau icing the Canucks! I’d make fun of the rebound Corey Schneider let trickle out there, but we all know how famously hard it is to control unscreened Joe Thornton wrist shots. *cough*
May 8 – Boston 4 – Toronto 3 Details: David Krejci, 13:06 of the 1st OT
I’ve written about this one before - there was a healthy number of minor errors that took place in this one. The real fun part about this goal though is it gave folks in Toronto a new reason to hate Dion Phaneuf for (they think the pinch was the only mistake here), which makes for entertaining conversation. It also gave us this Elisha Cuthbert moment, which actually became a thing, which is crazy, because it wasn’t a thing.
May 8 – Los Angeles 3 – St. Louis 2 Details: Slava Voynov, 8:00 of the 1st OT
Slava Voynov is pretty wonderful at hockey, but MAN has he gotten a few breaks this post-season. Literally. He gets the OT winner on a shot where his stick gets slashed so his shot ends up being a change-up. He scored against the Blackhawks on a broken stick shot. He got an assist in the post-season on a broken stick shot. Dude needs to start using Nerf sticks full-time.
May 8 – Anaheim 3 – Detroit 2 Details: Nick Bonino, 1:54 of the 1st OT
This is the video coaches use to show their defenseman how not to contain opposing players in front. “The trick if you’d like to be terrible, you see, is to let them have complete free use of their sticks, and to make sure you have terrible body position. Like this. Perfectly awful.”
May 10 – Washington 2 – NY Rangers 1 Details: Mike Ribeiro, 9:24 of the 1st OT
Mike Ribiero puts the Caps up 3-2! If the previous video was a solid display of poor coverage in front, this was a fine demo of how to fail at getting the puck out of your own zone. It also probably made the Capitals love Mike Ribiero even more, maybe to the point where they’ll give him big money over five years and regret it after two.
May 10 – Detroit 4 – Anaheim 3 Details: Henrik Zetterberg, 1:04 into the 1st OT
Welllll, at least nobody can blame Bruce Boudreau for not getting his troops rested before the draw here. Nice little faceoff play from Babcock though – get the puck to the guy everyone thinks is going to be the shooter, run another guy over to the wall to give it to after the pressure is dragged away, and BLAMO. Game-ended.
May 11 – Pittsburgh 4 – NY Islanders 3 Details: Brooks Orpik, 7:49 into 1st OT
Hey, can’t say you didn’t see this coming. When you think offense and think Pittsburgh Penguins: BROOKS. ORPIK. Amirite? I’m right. Every time.
May 13 – Boston 5 – Toronto 4 Details: Patrice Bergeron, 6:05 into 1st OT
Games like this make me so glad I’m not a Leafs fan. Can you imagine the pain? Being up 3-1…wait, up 4-1 in the third period of Game 7, and losing?? The only thing that could make that pain worse is if the team that came back and beat your team like, went on to the Stanley Cup Final or something. Ohhhh, the imagined pain.
May 16 – Boston 3 – New York 2 Details: Brad Marchand, 15:40 into 1st OT
Bergeron again, this time with the pass! Certain players are just in better shape to play more minutes, more committed to keep working even when the going gets tough, and less affected by pressure. Those players earn reputations for being “clutch.” Bergeron is kinda deserving of that label.
May 18 – San Jose 2 – Los Angeles 1 Details: Logan Couture, 1:29 into 1st OT:
How often do you get a clean look with time in a hockey game, let alone a clean look with time in overtime of a playoff game? Even on the powerplay that’s tough to do. San Jose may not have won “the big one” over their past decade of success, but man, they’re good.
May 19 – Ottawa 2 – Pittsburgh 1 Details: Colin Greening, 7:39 into 2nd OT
I know Tomas Vokoun was wonderful in this particular game, but most goalies contain that rebound or don’t end up where he did on that goal, right? I know he plays more of a floppy-guessy style, but it’s moments like these as a coach where you must roll your eyes and be like…c’mon now, man. A little help here.
May 23 – Rangers 4 – Bruins 3 Details: Chris Kreider, 7:03 into 1st OT
And Dougie Hamilton has barely played since. I mean, all the respect in the world to Nash and Kreider for that great play, but Dougie Hamilton goes from having a player in front of him without issue to giving up a goal in zero-point-no seconds.
May 29 – Blackhawks 2 – Red Wings 1 Details: Brent Seabrook, 3:35 into 1st OT
Poor Niklas Kronwall kinda got caught a little deep, then kinda got a puck off the ankle before it beat Howard. Tough go. But with the videos below it did help set up a pretty exciting final. Those videos include…
June 5 – Bruins 2 – Penguins 1 Details: Patrice Bergeron, 15:19 into 2nd OT
Marchand to Bergeron, control-v, done.
June 8 – Blackhawks 4 – Kings 3 Details: Patrick Kane, 11:40 into 2nd OT
This finish by Kane is ridiiiiiiiculous. Ridiculous. Tucked up perfectly under the bar to start the handshakes.
And there you have it: all 24 game-enders from the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far this year. You may have noticed that both teams in this year’s Cup Final didn’t just win their share of overtime contests, but they both won overtime contests in Game 7s.
Both teams have been rolling since their scares though, and will get the chance to avoid any more heart-attacks like these when the opening 60 minutes starts at 8:00 p.m. EST in Chicago tonight.