Longest overtime games in Stanley Cup playoff history

ByTim Kavanagh ESPN logo
Friday, May 19, 2023

Game 1 of the 2023 Eastern Conference finals provided fans in attendance with more than double the amount of hockey for which they paid. It took until 19:47 of the fourth overtime period for the Florida Panthers to earn the 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

During NHL regular-season games, a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period is played; if no team scores, it goes to a shootout. But in the playoffs, it's repeated 20-minute periods of sudden death until a goal is scored.

Will the Panthers-Hurricanes marathon result in any players getting a rest for Game 2? Not likely.

"I've got a 38-year-old in the back end," Canes coach Rod Brind'Amour said of defenseman Brent Burns, who played over 54 minutes in Game 1, per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "Maybe I shouldn't go to him [in Game 2]. But I can tell you right now that if I confronted him, he would punch me in the face. This is why they play the games. To get in these moments. So I guess that answers [the question] for the rest of the guys, too."

Nevertheless, Thursday's marathon contest was not the longest playoff overtime game in NHL history. The 79 minutes, 47 seconds of extra game time was the sixth highest in the league's more than 100 years. Courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information research, here's a rundown of the five games that were even longer:

1936: Detroit Red Wings 1, Montreal Maroons 0

Overtime periods: 6

Extra game time: 116:30

The wonderfully named Mud Bruneteau finally scored at 16:30 of overtime No. 6 to break the tie with Montreal in Game 1 of the best-of-five Stanley Cup semifinal series. Per NHL.com, Red Wings goalie Normie Smith lost 12 pounds of body weight during the game and made 92 saves to earn the W. The Red Wings would win the Stanley Cup Final that year against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1933: Toronto Maple Leafs 1, Boston Bruins 0

Overtime periods: 6

Extra game time: 104:46

It was another Stanley Cup semifinal best-of-five matchup here and the NHL's first true marathon game. Ken Doraty was the hero of this one, and as it was Game 5 of the series, this was a series clincher as well. Veteran NHL writer Stan Fischler recounted in 2017 that a coin flip nearly decided this one after four overtime periods. The Leafs would lose in the Cup Final to the New York Rangers.

2000: Philadelphia Flyers 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 1

Overtime periods: 5

Extra game time: 92:01

The Keystone State rivals have played many an epic playoff game, and this one was nearly two extra games of hockey for fans in attendance. Keith Primeau ended the festivities at 12:01 of the fifth overtime, tying their Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-2. The full game is available on YouTube; bring some snacks, the runtime is 5:22:54. Philly would win this series 4-2 but lose to the eventual Cup-winning New Jersey Devils 4-3 in the Eastern Conference finals.

2020: Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

Overtime periods: 5

Extra game time: 90:27

During the NHL's "bubble" Stanley Cup playoffs in 2020, many things seemed like an illusion. The amount of time on ice for the Lightning and Blue Jackets in this game's box score is one of them. Often cited as one of the times that NHL officials "swallowed their whistles" in OT, there were 14 total penalty minutes in this game. No matter, as Lightning center Brayden Point scored the game-winning goal at 10:27 at even strength, giving the Lightning the 1-0 series lead even though it felt like this one should've counted extra. The Lightning would win the series 4-1 and go on to win the Cup.

2003: Anaheim Mighty Ducks 4, Dallas Stars 3

Overtime periods: 5

Extra game time: 80:28

Back when the Ducks were way more into purple, they outlasted the Stars in the opening tilt of the Western Conference semifinals, thanks to a goal from Petr Sykora. The Ducks would go on to win that series and the next one, but they lost to the Devils in the Stanley Cup Final.

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