Heroes become legends in playoff OT

The moment is upon us. The only time of year that offers the best gift known to the hockey world: the possibility of an endless game.

Breaking down post-season sudden death records

This is the face of an OT hero. Bruins centre Marc Savard returned from a concussion to score the overtime winner against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the second-round series on Saturday May 1. (Charles Krupa/Canadian Press).

The moment is upon us. The only time of year that offers the best gift known to the hockey world: the possibility of an endless game.

Of course, they always finish, but when the five-minute limit on overtime is thrown out the window, players give their team, their city and their fans heart-stopping and hero-making moments that will last forever … and sometimes a game that seems like it will, too.

From Joe Sakic's eight career playoff overtime-winning goals, to the 1993 Montreal Canadiens' record streak of 10 OT victories all the way to the Detroit Red Wings' benchmark of four sudden-death Game 7 wins — there are a plethora of memories built in overtime and marveled at forever.

This year we already have near unbelievable overtime stories. Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly scored what could be described as the strangest overtime goal in history while his goalie Craig Anderson turned away 51 shots to preserve the shutout and the win. In Marc Savard, we have a star player returning from a nasty concussion to score the winner for his team in Game 1 of the second round.

We here at CBCSports.ca present to you a guide to the statistics for this glorious time of year where teams and players are immortalized starting at the 60:01 mark of any given game. Which is the same point of a playoff game where their fans beg for a finish at the crack of dawn, providing a completely acceptable excuse for their inefficient day at work.

Boss, I'm calling in overtime… I mean sick

Most OT games over one playoff year

  • 1993 (28)
  •  2001 (26)
  • 2003 (22)
  • 1999 (21)

Marathon matches

The 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs have featured 14 matches that have needed more than the allotted 60 minutes to decide so far (as of May 4th,2010). That's still 14 more than the only year that featured absolutely zero overtime games, 1963 Stanley Cup playoffs.

These are the longest NHL playoff games, ever:

  • Detroit Red Wings 1, Montreal Maroons 0 - March 24, 1936. Mud Bruneteau scored at @116:30 of OT (equivalent to an extra 5¾ periods).
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 1, Boston Bruins 0 - April 3, 1933. Ken Doraty scored at 104:46 (Equivalent to an extra 5¼ periods)
  • Philadelphia Flyers 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 1 - May 4, 2000. Keith Primeau scored @ 92:01 of OT (Equivalent to an extra 4½ periods).

The longest OT game in 2010 was the triple-overtime Game 5 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators, finished by the Senators' Matt Carkner, who scored 47:06 into overtime.

Sprint to the finish line

Here are the quickest OT contests:

  • Montreal Canadiens 3, Calgary Flames 2 - May 18, 1986. It took the Habs' Brian Skrudland just nine seconds to end the night for his team.
  • New York Islanders 4, New York Rangers 3 - April 11, 1975. J.P. Parise scored the winner in 11 seconds.

'(Over)time is on my side, yes it is'

Most playoff OT wins for one team in a single playoff season:

  • Montreal Canadiens, 1993 (10)
  • Carolina Hurricanes, 2002 (7)

The 1993 Montreal Canadiens also set a record for consecutive OT victories by notching those 10 in a row - including three in the Stanley Cup final that year vs. the Los Angeles Kings.

Swollen series

Most OT games in one series match up:

  • Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens, 1951 Stanley Cup final - Toronto's Bill Barilko scored 2:53 into OT during Game 5 to wrap up the Cup for the Maple Leafs, and by doing so, marked the fifth straight contest where the single goal in extra time ended the game.
  • Five other series tied at 4 games

Going the distance

Most Game 7 OT games in a team's history:

  • Detroit, Montreal and St. Louis (5)
  • Minnesota/Dallas (4)
  • Eight others tied with 3

The Red Wings get the edge in this category, going four-for-five in Game 7 OT games while the Canadiens and Blues both own a record of two wins, three losses.

Sudden death 7th heaven

There have been only four occasions when more than one Game 7 in a playoff season have been decided in overtime, and each time it happened just twice.

Most Game 7 OT games in one playoff year:

1997 — The Buffalo Sabres used Derek Plante's goal to defeat the Ottawa Senators, while Edmonton got by Dallas thanks to a goal from Todd Marchant. Both goals came in the quarter-finals.

1994 — The New York Rangers' Stephane Matteau and Vancouver Canucks' Pavel Bure used OT goals to eliminate the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames, respectively. Bure's series-winning goal came in the first round, while Matteau did it in the conference final.

1993 — The Toronto Maple Leafs ousted a favoured Detroit Red Wings squad with a Nikolai Borschevsky tally, while the New York Islanders ended the Pittsburgh Penguins chance to three-peat with a David Volek goal.

1950 — The Detroit Red Wings converted next-goal-wins against both the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the New York Rangers to capture the Stanley Cup.

The longest Game 7 in history occurred on April 18, 1987 when the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals went an extra 68:47. Pat LaFontaine scored for the Islanders while goaltender (and current Hockey Night in Canada analyst) Kelly Hrudey made a playoff record 73 saves in the game referred to many as the "Easter Epic."

Sudden Death Stars

Most Playoff OT goals

  • Joe Sakic — 8
  • Maurice Richard — 6
  • Glenn Anderson — 5
  • 11 others tied with 4

The top OT heroes currently in the playoffs are dominated by the Detroit Red Wings with Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Kirk Maltby and Johan Franzen each with a pair of extra-time winners on their resume.

As for goaltenders, Patrick Roy's string of 10-straight OT victories with the aforementioned 1993 Canadiens is the lofty benchmark when it comes to netminders.

It seems I've run out of space for the two important pieces of information needed for OT-obsessed fans: what late-night delivery place is open during the third overtime and what breakfast place is open after the fourth?

Justin Piercy is a writer for CBCSports.ca and only likes dealing with this many numbers when dealing with hockey stats. He also anticipates hearing about all your favourite playoff overtime memories in the comment section.