Game One of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals provided hockey fans with what they will tell you is one of the reasons they watch the game, playoff overtime.
The Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils completed three periods of regulation time tied at one. Conn Smythe Trophy candidate, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, broke that tie at the 8:13 mark of the first overtime stanza, giving the Kings the lead in the series as well as keeping their road winning streak alive at nine games.
While Wednesday's game was not one of the longest overtime games in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, it did provide the inspiration to list the ten longest games in Cup Finals history: enjoy.
If you were a fan of the New York Rangers prior to 1994, you were very familiar with 1940. It was a chant that rang out in many opposing arenas if the home team was about to dispatch the Rangers in the playoffs or even knock then out of playoff contention. The chant rang out gleefully many times prior to 1994; you see, 1940 was the last year the Rangers had won the Stanley Cup.
On their way to Stanley Cup victory, they played 31:43 of overtime in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3-2.
The most talked about moment from the 1989 Stanley Cup Finals has to be Flames captain Lanny McDonald scoring a goal and lifting the Cup in the final game of his long NHL career, but that didn't occur until Game Six.
The Flames and Canadiens split the first two games of their series, and when regulation time came to a close for Game Three, the teams were tied at three.
The first overtime came to a close with and the score remained 3-3. The game ended just short of a third overtime with a Ryan Walter goal at 38:08 of overtime.
There are times when life gets in the way of enjoying the game we love. Game Four of the 1996 Stanley Cup finals was one of those moments for me.
At the time, I was working a third shift, and I had caught the early part of the first period of the game between the Florida Panthers and the Colorado Avalanche before I had to leave for work. Luckily I was able to listen to the ongoing drama on the radio on the ride to my job. By the time I had arrived at work, the game was still in regulation, so I reluctantly clocked in and went about my tasks for the evening.
I was somewhat surprised to hear that the game was still going on when I got to my break. As I sat in my car and listened to the goings on, I hoped that I would be able to hear the game come to an end and I did, listening to the call in my car in a mostly empty parking lot on that June night.
When I got home in the morning I caught the highlights on television as the Avalanche's Uwe Krupp scored the game winner at 44:31 of overtime.
It's funny how you can remember things like this about sporting events.
The Dallas Stars had won the Stanley Cup in 1999 on a controversial goal scored by Brett Hull in another of the longest games in Stanley Cup Finals history. During that series they faced the top-notch goaltending of Buffalo Sabres' Dominik Hasek in the Finals. In 2000, the Stars did not catch any breaks, as they drew the top-notch defense of the New Jersey Devils and the man that represented them in net, Martin Brodeur.
The Devils had a three games to one advantage over the Stars and were looking to wrap things up at home in front of the crowd at the Continental Airlines Arena but were unable to do so during regulation as the teams played to a 0-0 tie after 60 minutes.
The score remained 0-0 through the first and second overtime periods, but in the third overtime a hero emerged; unfortunately for the Devils faithful, it was the Dallas Stars' captain, Mike Modano, that broke the scoreless tie at 6:21 of the third overtime.
The Devils would wrap the series up in Dallas in the next game with Jason Arnott scoring the game winner in the second overtime period.
The Pittsburgh Penguins entered Game Five of 2008 Stanley Cup finals trailing the Detroit Red Wings three games to one. They were playing for their Stanley Cup lives when they took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena for that game.
As time ticked down, it appeared that the Red Wings would win the Cup at home, as they held a 3-2 lead going into the final minute of play. But lo and behold, with just 34.3 seconds left in the game, the Penguins tied the game and sent things into overtime.
The score remained knotted at three through two overtimes; at some point during the long overtime, Petr Sykora informed analyst Pierre McGuire that he was going to win the game for the Penguins, which he did at the 9:57 mark of the third overtime.
The Wings would go on to win Game Six and capture the 2008 Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh.
It only took 50 minutes and 29 seconds of overtime, but the Chicago Blackhawks eventually overcame an early deficit to defeat the Boston Bruins in this Game One classic.
The B's looked poised and ready to steal a game from Chicago while visiting the United Center after receiving a two-goal lead from back-to-back goals by Milan Lucic. Boston's goaltender Tuukka Rask possessed a microscopic 1.75 GAA at that point of the Final, suggesting two goals could be enough.
That wouldn't be the case, however. Chicago and Boston traded goals after Lucic's second marker, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead with just over half of period three left to play.
Two goals in 12 minutes from Chicago's Dave Bolland and Johny Oduya sent the game into overtime. The two squads traded spirited chances for a whopping 3 overtimes worth of action.
All told these two Original Six franchises went at it for a grand total of 112 minutes and 8 seconds before Andrew Shaw became a hero for the 'Hawks, scoring the overtime winner.
The 1931 Stanley Cup Finals featured the Chicago Blackhawks versus the Montreal Canadiens. Entering the third game of the series, the teams each had won a game, with both games ending by the score of 2-1.
Regulation time in Game Three ended with the teams tied at two. The fans on hand for the game were in for a long night as the game went into the third overtime. The game ended with the Chicago Blackhawks earning the win at 13:50 of the third OT when Cy Wentworth scored the game winner.
At the time, the game was the longest in Stanley Cup Finals history.
2002 would mark the Carolina Hurricanes' first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately for them, they drew the Detroit Red Wings as their opponents, a team that had gone 51-17-10-4 during the season, giving them 110 points. That total gave them 15 more points than the second place Boston Bruins and 19 more than the 'Canes.
The Hurricanes would win Game One in overtime by a score of 3-2. The Wings would then come back in Game Two, securing a 3-1 victory. Game Three had a score of 2-2 when regulation ended. That score remained the same through two overtime periods and was looking like it may have held through three overtimes until Igor Larionov of the Red Wings ended the game with 5:13 left on the clock in the third OT.
The Wings would go on to win the Cup in five games.
In 1999, the Dallas Stars entered Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals with a three games to two advantage over the Buffalo Sabres.
I remember this game well. For some reason I decided to leave the friendly confines of my house where I had been parked in front of my 32" Sony tube television (a costly indulgence for me back then) and venture to the local bar. By the time I arrived, the 1st overtime had begun.
Time ticked on, and I began to worry that the bar would close before the game came to its end, possibly depriving me of seeing the game-winning and possible Stanley Cup-winning goal.
Finally, with 5:09 seconds left in the third overtime, Brett Hull scored the game winning goal that gave the Dallas Stars the Stanley Cup.
The 1990 Stanley Cup Finals pitted the dynasty that was the Edmonton Oilers against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins had been the only team to finish the 1990 NHL season with more than 100 points, barely cracking that magic number by putting together a record of 46-25-9, earning them 101 points.
The Oilers, without Wayne Gretzky, who had been traded to the Los Angeles Kings the previous season, finished the 1990 season with a record of 38-28-14, giving them 90 points and putting them in second place in what was then the Smythe Division behind the Calgary Flames.
When the teams made their way to the ice for Game One of their series, they couldn't have known the amount of time they would spend on the ice at the Boston Garden.
The teams would end regulation time knotted at two; it would take three overtimes to decide the game with the Oilers' Petr Klima netting the game winner at the 55:13 mark of overtime. In all, the teams were less than five minutes away from playing two complete games to open the series.
The Oilers would go on to capture the Cup in five games.