If you’ve been watching the Western Conference Finals, you are likely behind on sleep. The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks feel your pain. The two teams have played a marathon of a series thus far already totaling 6 overtimes (not every OT lasted the full 20 minutes). Since we all know that OT Playoff Hockey is the best kind of hockey, I wanted to share some of the best games I’ve seen recently. I will not include the games currently in this series. What games did I leave out?
Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues
April 17, 2014
The Hawks and Blues made Game 1 of their opening round match up an instant classic. The Blackhawks had the lead after the first period at 3-2. With under 2 minutes remaining in the game, Jaden Schwartz tied things up for the Blues. The teams played two entire periods of grueling OT until a quick goal by Blues forward Alex Steen ended things early in the third overtime.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
April 23, 2014
This series was one of the best in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. A true David vs Goliath matchup. The Jackets gave then Pens just about everything they had. In game four of this series it looked as though the Pens may just come away with a 3-1 stranglehold of the series. Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets had other ideas. With under 10 minutes to go in the second period Penguins forward Brandon Sutter took a delay of game penalty. Johansen scored on the ensuing power play to close the gap to 1. The Jackets entered the the third down one goal and it took them just about the entire period to get it tied up. At 19:36 Brandon Dubinsky tied the game sending the contest into OT where Nick Foligno would end things relatively quickly. Unfotunately the Pens went on to win the series in 6 but my goodness it was one of the best series I’ve seen in recent years.
Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
June 8, 2013
Patrick Kane is so good sometimes it’s not even fair. The Hawks took and early lead in this one before the Kings answered with two goals of their own. Pat Kane netted his second of the evening with under 5 minutes to go ,seemingly sealing the game and series for Chicago. Mike Richards gave the Kings hope scoring with 10 seconds left to tie the game and send it to OT. After battling through one OT Pat Kane completed the hattrick off a feed from Captain Jonathan Toews to win the game and the series for the Hawks in the second overtime. They of course went on to win the Stanley Cup…again.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
May 13, 2013
Warning: Leafs fans may experience severe heartbreak after reliving this. The Toronto Maple Leafs collapsed. Actually there’s a better word for what they did, they absolutely FAILED. Game 7 up 4-1 in the third, what could possibly go wrong?!?! Try EVERYTHING. It seems as one the ten minute mark hit in the third the Bruins decided to stop hustling the leafs and turned it on. Nathan Horton started things off closing the gap to two. Under 3 minutes the Leafs were still up two, you should really be able to hold a lead for 3 minutes, especially when the series is on the line. Milan Lucic scored at 18:38 to bring the B’s within one but even then, 90 seconds were left in the game. All the Leafs had to do was get the red line and dump the puck a couple of times. Patrice Bergeron scored at 19:09 to send the game into OT and then capped that off with a GWG in the 1st OT. GAME, SET, MATCH.
Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins
April 11, 2012
I may be biased being a huge Flyers fan, but this is one of the top playoff match ups in the past decade. This series had everything, lots of goals, lots of hitting, lots of fights, and plenty of passion. The Flyers Pens rivalry is the best in the NHL IMO and it really came to life in this series. The two squads kicked game 1 off with a bang. The Penguins took an early 3-0 lead in this one and were asolutely rolling. However, true to their identity from that season, the Comeback Kid Flyers battled back with Brayden Schenn tying the game midway through the third. OT didn’t last long as Jake Voracek sealed the win for the flyers within the first three minutes.