Skaters in hockey tend to play shifts of roughly a minute in length at a time, mostly because, hey, hockey is freaking exhausting. A player on a top line might log somewhere between 20 to 25 minutes over the course of a 60-minute game.
If you have to add playoff overtime on top of that, then, well, you can feel the exhaustion through the screen. As a fan, you might used to seeing playoff games with one or two overtime periods; if you’re lucky, you might get treated to a third overtime period.
The AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Charlotte Checkers just played five (FIVE!) overtime periods in a playoff game on Wednesday night. Alex Krushelnyski’s goal in the 146th minute of the game finally ended the affair with a Lehigh Valley win.
At that point, is there still any drama? Is it not all just fatigue?
This was the longest game in AHL history, beating out the previous record set in 2008 by four minutes. Unfortunately, the AHL doesn’t track minutes played on its official website -- we’d love to see how many minutes the top line played in this one -- but the final box score reflects that Phantoms netminder Alex Lyon saved 94 of 95 shots in over two hours of ice time.
Believe it or not, the NHL holds an even loftier record for longest game. In the 1936 Stanley Cup Finals, the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons went to six overtimes, as did the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins in the 1933 Finals. The only other game to hit at least five overtimes came in the year 2000, when the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins faced off in the second round.
Still, it’s been a while since any NHL fan has been treated to a quintuple overtime game. Frankly, it seems unlikely that even the most diehard fan of the sport would want to endure what might actually be a six-hour broadcast.
Won’t know for sure until you’ve tried it, though!