Well I didn’t expect to be doing a retrospective on the exact day that the Flyers begin their first round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, but here we are! The year 2020 has been full of surprises, and at this point, just about anything that happens until the the date strikes “January 1st, 2021” can be attributed to “well of course this happened”. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are, as we’ve just seen, no exemption!
Yesterday saw the start of the official “first round” of the playoffs after the round robin and qualifier rounds that started on the 1st of August, and leave it to 2020 to hand us a game like this! Though there were three games played (out of the four scheduled), the focus for many was on the first round opener between the “away” Columbus Blue Jackets and the “home” Tampa Bay Lightning. With a beer in hand and my screen tuned in, I was equally as excited to see the start of best-of-seven elimination hockey where the top teams would be included. However, we were all thrown for a loop.
The game entered overtime after the Lightning’s Yanni Gourde tied the score at 2-2 just twenty-three seconds into the third period of regulation play. Meanwhile, I was still tuned in, though I had moved the game onto my phone screen and was watching from the comfort of my bed as it was just turning to midnight. In the end, I would only last until the end of the second overtime, and it turns out I definitely wouldn’t have been able to watch much more as they would play FIVE (YES, FIVE) overtime periods. The game would only be won halfway through that fifth overtime period on a shot by Brayden Point.
Yesterday’s (and technically today’s) contest broke a few records. Joonas Korpisalo of the Blue Jackets broke an NHL playoff record for both shots seen against (88) and saves made (85) despite seeing the loss, and Seth Jones set a record for most ice time in a single game, playing 65:06. That’s over an hour of ice time! Though Jones reportedly said he “felt fine” after the game, I can imagine he’ll need quite the rest in preparation for game two.
Despite all these records being broken, one record in particular was not broken. Still belonging to the Philadelphia Flyers (and Pittsburgh Penguins but ew) is the record for the longest playoff overtime game in the modern era (both of the longer games took place in 1933 and 1936). Yesterday’s game had an overtime lasting 90 minutes and 27 seconds, which couldn’t quite beat the 92:01 set back in 2000, when Flyers’ cult hero and eventual captain Keith Primeau would end their game.
You can watch it again for your viewing pleasure:
Regardless, yesterday’s affair in Toronto goes down as the second longest playoff game in the modern era, and the fourth longest all time. Our friends over at the Raw Charge wrote a brilliant recap of the game, which you can read here.