Longest NHL Playoff Games And Overtime Games (Ranked)

Longest NHL Playoff Games & Overtimes (Ranked)

After the regular season, which sets the bedrock for the teams that will qualify for the playoffs, the playoff season begins. The playoffs are a long stretch of games and competition between NHL teams as they race for the Stanley Cup. 

Only 16 teams make it to the NHL playoffs, and only one team comes out victorious as the Stanley Cup winners. But today, we will be looking at the longest NHL playoff games and the most overtime games.

Before we begin, I want you all to note in NHL playoffs:

  • Overtime lasts for 20 minutes, in contrast to the 5-minute overtime period for regular-season games
  • The overtime rule in the NHL states that the first team to score a goal wins the match. Therefore, once the goal is scored, the game ends, and the winning team is crowned the winner.
  • In NHL playoffs, during overtime, the number of players remains in a 5-on-5 format in contrast to the 3-on-3 player format for regular season games  

Longest NHL Overtime And Playoff Game

Longest NHL Overtime And Playoff Game

The NHL playoff game with the most overtimes ever recorded and the longest regular-season game ever were both held by the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons’ contest on March 24, 1936. It was a semi-final Stanley Cup game.

Before a winner was determined, the game ran beyond its 60-minute allotted time and required six periods of overtime. Mud Bruneteau, a Maroons player, scored the game-winning goal with three minutes and thirty seconds left in the sixth overtime.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 6 OT
Total Overtime Period: 116 minutes 30 seconds 
Total Game Time: 176 minutes 30 seconds 

10 Of The Longest NHL Playoff Games Of The Post-Expansion Period

The NHL has had additional lengthy games in addition to the longest playoff game in league history. Nonetheless, some of these games took place in the distant past. But in this piece, we’ll focus on the top 10 playoff matches since the expansion.

The expansion phase, which lasted from 1967 to 1979 and ended with the WHA’s merger into the NHL, was followed by the post-expansion period, or the contemporary age (modern era) of the NHL. Hence, we’ll start with games that date from the 1980s to the present.

10. Anaheim Ducks VS Chicago Blackhawks (116:12)

Anaheim Ducks VS Chicago Blackhawks

The contest was held on May 20, 2015, with both clubs competing for the Western Conference Cup as the conference’s top scorers. It had a regulation time of 60 minutes to begin with, before going into three periods of overtime.

Prior to overtime, the game’s score was tied at 2-2. After clocking into overtime, the game went into the two overtime periods scoreless before Bent Seabrook’s assist.

3 minutes and 38 seconds into the third overtime, Seabrook blasted the puck toward the goaltender, setting up the goal. Marcus Kruger was able to send the puck into the goal despite receiving a minor deflection from the goalie’s body.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 3 OT
Total Overtime Period: 56 minutes 12 seconds 
Total Game Time: 116 minutes 12 seconds 

9. Dallas Stars VS Edmonton Oilers (117:34)

Edmonton Oilers were completely defeated in this playoff series game between the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers, with Dallas winning all four games. They went on to win the Stanley Cup later in that campaign.

The opening period of the game saw no goals. However, the Oilers were the first to score in the second period before the Stars scored an equalizer. In the third quarter, the identical scenario repeated itself, tying the score at 2-2.

Before Joe Nieuwendyk scored the game-winning goal with 2 minutes and 26 seconds remaining in the third period, the score remained tied for two additional overtime sessions.

Date: April 27, 1999
Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 3 OT
Total Overtime Period: 57 minutes 34 seconds 
Total Game Time: 117 minutes 34 seconds 

8. Buffalo Sabres  VS New Jersey Devils (125:43)

On April 27, 1994, the Buffalo Sabres and the New Jersey Devils played a game. Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek, two of the best NHL goalies at the time, squared off in an epic match.

The game remained scoreless for the entire three periods of regulation play. Similarly, the first, second, and third overtime periods were all the same. However, five minutes into the beginning of the fourth overtime period, the tides began to change.

Dave Hannans scored the game-winning goal five minutes and forty-three seconds into the third quarter. The goal, which also served as the first goal in more than six quarters, elicited a raucous cheer.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 4 OT
Total Overtime Period: 65 minutes 43 seconds 
Total Game Time: 125 minutes 43 seconds 

7. Washington Capitals VS New York Islanders (127:48)

Washington Capitals VS New York Islanders

On April 18, 1987, the Washington Capital played the New York Islanders. The Caps had a one-goal advantage in the first period, and their domination against the Islanders continued in the second period with a 2-1 advantage.

Entering into the third period, Byran Trottier’s goal for the Islanders in the third period, though, brought the score to 2-2. Finally, regulation time came to an end and overtime began which caused the game to heat up. No team managed to score a goal during the first three periods.

Pat LaFontaine, though, fired a slapshot at the start of the fourth period from around 54 feet away from the goal line. Excluding breaks or intermissions, the game which lasted more than two hours was finally brought to a close when the goal was scored.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 4 OT
Total Overtime Period: 68 minutes 47 seconds 
Total Game Time: 128 minutes 47 seconds 

6. Dallas Stars VS San Jose Sharks (129:03)

The San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars were playing in the Western Conference semifinals of the playoffs. The game on April 4th, 2008, had the potential to determine whether the Sharks would force a seventh game in the series or whether the Stars would go to the finals.

This happened as a result of the Stars’ 3-2 series victory over the Sharks. To advance to the finals, they just need one more victory.

The game went into overtime after the scores remained tied at 1-1 after 60 minutes of regulation time. No goals were scored by either team over the first three overtime periods.

The Stars were granted a powerplay in the fourth overtime period after a Sharks player was given a penalty call. Nine minutes into the fourth overtime period, this provided the Stars the man advantage they required to score the game-winning goal.

Brenden Morrow of the Dallas Stars scored the goal.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 4 OT
Total Overtime Period: 69 minutes 03 seconds 
Total Game Time: 129 minutes 03 seconds 

5. Vancouver Canucks VS Dallas Stars (138:06)

There were several goals scored in regulation time of the game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars before overtime began. The match, which took place on April 11th, 2007, is the fifth-longest NHL playoff match on this list.

The Canadians took the lead early in the first period of regulation play before the Stars evened the score. The Canucks had a 3-2 lead in the game after the second period, but the Stars fought back to tie the score at 4 goals apiece in the third period.

Regrettably, overtime was not equal to regulation time. The first three extra sessions of the game were goalless. In actuality, Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin scored the game’s decisive goal in the fourth extra period. A minute and 54 seconds remained in the fourth period when it was scored.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 4OT
Total Overtime Period: 78 minutes 06 seconds 
Total Game Time: 138 minutes 06 seconds 

4. Washington Capitals VS Pittsburgh Penguins (139:15)

Washington Capitals VS Pittsburgh Penguins

The Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins faced off on April 24, 1996, in a playoff series in which the Capital was ahead, winning two games of the last three matches played. 

The fourth series of games started with the Capitals gaining an early 1-0 lead. Later in the second period, the score count increased to 2-0. Eventually, the Penguins would score the first goal of the game in the second period and build up momentum to equalize the scores in the third period. 

Now in the overtime, the first three overtime periods went goalies. However, just 45 seconds to the end of the fourth overtime period, Petr Nedved of the Penguins scored the goal that ended the game. 

This goal led to the win of the Penguins against the Capital and also tied their wins in the series to 2-2. 

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 4OT
Total Overtime Period: 79 minutes 15 seconds 
Total Game Time: 139 minutes 15 seconds 

3. Mighty Ducks Of Anaheim VS Dallas Star (140:48) 

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Dallas Stars squared off in a playoff series on April 24, 2003. At this period, the Mighty Ducks had just joined the league.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim took the lead in regulation time. First, they started by tying in the first period, dominating the second period, and then tying during periods 3-3.

No goals were scored throughout the first four extra sessions after the game entered overtime. Finally, Petr Sykora of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim scored a goal 48 seconds into the fifth overtime period.

Interestingly, the Ducks’ victory following their tiresome contest with the Dallas Stars gave them motivation to keep playing until they succumbed to the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup finals.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 5
Total Overtime Period: 80 minutes 48 seconds 
Total Game Time: 140 minutes 48 seconds 

2. Columbus Blue Jackets Vs Tampa Bay Lightning (150:27)

The most recent and longest NHL playoff game is also the second-longest post-expansion game. It took place on August 11, 2020, and was a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The score was tied 2-2 after regulation time in Game 1 of the Eastern First Round. No goals were scored throughout the first four overtime periods because neither team was willing to back down.

The anticipation had built up sufficiently when the fifth period began, and Brayden Point of the Lightning scored ten minutes in.

Nikita Kucherov assisted on the goal by shooting the puck even though it was blocked. Fortunately, a teammate took possession and handed the puck to him again before he fired it across the rink.

Ultimately, the puck struck a defenseman near the ice, allowing Brayden Points to strike the puck into the net.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 5
Total Overtime Period: 90 minutes 27 seconds 
Total Game Time: 150 minutes 27 seconds 

1. Philadelphia Flyers Vs Pittsburgh Penguins (152:09) 

Philadelphia Flyers Vs Pittsburgh Penguins

The Philadelphia Flyers played the Pittsburgh Penguins for the fourth time in the series on May 4, 2000. In two of the first three games of the series, the Penguins held the lead, while the Flyers only managed to win one.

The two sides were locked in a goalless stalemate after 60 minutes of normal play. The first extra period followed, but there was no goal scored in it. The second, third, and fourth overtime periods all followed a similar pattern.

Afterward, the fifth quarter started. Up until 8 minutes remaining in the game, when Keith Primeau scored a fantastic goal to conclude the game, it appeared as though the score would remain the same.

Regulation Time: 60 minutes 
Number of Overtime: 5
Total Overtime Period: 92 minutes 09 seconds 
Total Game Time: 152 minutes 09 seconds 


Finally, we have concluded the list of the top 10 longest playoff games and overtime periods in the NHL, from the post-expansion era till date. NHL matches can be very intense, especially in the off-season

Even though the regular season is usually competitive the real battle is during the playoffs when all that is in the mind of every player, goalie and coach is to ensure their team advances and wins the Stanley Cup. Not that much pressure right? 

Thanks for reading. 

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