Ranking the Top 7 NHL Playoff Overtime Games in the Last Decade

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2021

Ranking the Top 7 NHL Playoff Overtime Games in the Last Decade

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Three words: Overtime playoff hockey.

    To a fan of skates, pucks and sticks, there's simply nothing better.

    Though other sports also decide postseason games with extra time when needed, none put their players through a physical and emotional grind that matches what can occur on a 200-foot sheet of ice.

    Sometimes an OT goal simply ends a game. Other times it wins a series.

    And in the most special of circumstances, a tally in an extra session clinches a championship.

    In fact, no fewer than 17 Stanley Cups have been won in a sudden-death scenario.

    Overtime has already been a common occurrence in the 2020-21 playoffs, where a remarkable 22 of 66 games have gone to extra time through the first two rounds of play. Four of those 22 weren't decided until a second extra period, and one needed a third additional session before a winner was decided.

    Experiencing so much scintillating bonus hockey this spring has set the B/R writer types to looking back over the last decade or so to compile a list of the best OT games.

    We wound up with a list of the top seven from 2010 forward—a lucky seven, if you will—including the one this season that required an extra 46 minutes and 52 seconds.

    They are presented here in reverse chronological order.

    Click through to see our favorites, and let us know your top picks in the comments section.

Jets-Oilers, 2021 North Division Semifinals: Game 4

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    Connor McDavid fans, avert your eyes.

    Just a day after plunging a dagger into the the Edmonton Oilers with a three-goal, third-period rally that resulted in an overtime win and a commanding 3-0 series lead, the Winnipeg Jets prolonged the agony.

    Kyle Connor took a stretch pass in the seventh minute of the third OT and got a shot past Mike Smith, ending the game at 6:52 of the session and wrapping up the series with an unlikely four-game sweep. 

    Three of the four games went to overtime, accounting for 60:11 of extra hockey.

    Winnipeg had won just two of its nine games with the Oilers during the regular season. But if it makes fans in Northern Alberta feel any better, the Jets were swept a round later by the Montreal Canadiens.

Lightning-Blue Jackets, 2020 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Game 1

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    It wasn't a Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't even a series-deciding game.

    But it's no stretch to suggest that the Tampa Bay Lightning's run to the 2020 championship might not have happened had it not been for Brayden Point's goal in Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    A little context.

    The Blue Jackets swept the first-place Lightning, who had won an NHL-record 62 games, in the first round a season before. And had Columbus found a way to win in the fifth overtime of a subsequent playoff opener, it might have done all sorts of things to the confidence of a talented but fragile team.

    Instead, Point beat goalie Joonas Korpisalo with the deflection of a Nikita Kucherov shot just past the halfway mark of the fifth overtime, giving Tampa Bay a 3-2 win. The Lightning went on to take the series in five games and won the second Cup in franchise history with 16 victories in 22 games.

Penguins-Senators, 2017 Eastern Conference Final: Game 7

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    Ahhh...to play with the likes of Sidney Crosby.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins had already won a Stanley Cup in 2016 but wouldn't have locked down a second straight title a year later without the wizardry of their prolific center.

    Crosby put the Penguins into position for a repeat when he spun in the left faceoff circle and dished to Chris Kunitz, whose one-timer from the high slot beat Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson at 5:09 of the second OT in Game 7.

    Pittsburgh advanced to the Cup Final, where they beat the Nashville Predators in six games.

    As for the Senators, well, let's say it's been a little less successful since.

    Ottawa was one goal from a championship-round berth but has finished no better than sixth in its division in the four seasons since and has not reached the playoffs.

Kings-Rangers, 2014 Stanley Cup Final: Game 5

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    Sometimes good things are worth the wait.

    So if you think Alec Martinez minded the fact that it took 94 minutes and 43 seconds of play before he snapped a championship-winning shot past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, giving the Los Angeles Kings a Game 5 win and their second Stanley Cup in three seasons, think again.

    The play began with a three-on-two rush into the New York zone and ended when Martinez, an 11-goal scorer during the regular season, found the rebound of a Tyler Toffoli shot on his stick blade and a wide-open net in front of him as Lundqvist vainly dove back into position.

    He put it home for the 17th championship-winning OT goal in NHL history.

    The Kings had also won in overtime in Games 1 and 2.

Blackhawks-Kings, 2013 Western Conference Final: Game 5

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    It's all about the celly.

    And when it comes after a series-ending goal that eliminates a defending champion and sends the winner toward its second title in four seasons, even better.

    Chicago's Patrick Kane took a precise left-to-right pass from Jonathan Toews, buried a one-timer behind Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and gave his Blackhawks a clinching 4-3 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at United Center.

    It was his third goal of the game and fourth of the series.

    He then pivoted into the right corner and skated back up the ice, skidded to his knees while tracing a heart in the air, and proceeded to snap out a quick right-hand punch, breaking the hearts of the Kings and restarting a mini-Chicago dynasty that yielded Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Bruins-Maple Leafs, 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Game 7

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    So, Maple Leafs fans, you think the spring of 2021 is as bad as it gets?

    Need we remind you of 2013?

    Just eight years ago in May—and only 46 years into a Stanley Cup drought that's since stretched to 54—Toronto held a 4-1 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins.

    It seemed a cinch that Toronto would advance a step closer to a title after finishing fifth in the conference.

    Until it wasn't.

    Instead, the Bruins scored three times to even the game at 4-4 and force overtime, when Patrice Bergeron, who had tied the game in the final minute of regulation, scored to end the game, the series and Randy Carlyle's first full season as coach of the team.

    He never coached another playoff game before being fired in January 2015.

Blackhawks-Flyers, 2010 Stanley Cup Final: Game 6

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    As mentioned earlier, Patrick Kane knows all about instant gratification.

    Turns out he's an expert in delayed agony too.

    The Blackhawks forward dished out the latter in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, skidding a shot from the left side under Philadelphia goalie Michael Leighton to give Chicago its first title since 1961.

    But it wasn't quite that cut and dried.

    Because the puck eluded Leighton and became lodged under the opaque lining of the inside of the net, no red light was activated even as Kane was skating gleefully to the opposite end of the ice to celebrate.

    Several seconds passed in front of an anxious crowd at the Flyers' home arena, the Wells Fargo Center, before the play was indeed ruled a goal and the title was clinched after 4:06 of overtime.

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