Last year we saw the eighth seed Memphis Grizzlies shock the world by upsetting the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and taking the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games in the conference semis. They had multiple overtime games in their run, including a triple OT thriller that hearkened back to one of the greatest NBA Playoffs games ever played, a three-overtime adventure in the 1976 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Suns.
But NBA overtimes are a mere five minutes long and often marred by foul trouble or exhaustion among key players. By contrast, NHL overtimes are sudden death but played for full, 20-minute periods, meaning teams can play two and even three games in the same night. In 2000, the Flyers’ Keith Primeau ended a quintuple OT marathon against Pittsburgh, the longest game since a 1936 bout in which the Red Wings beat the Montreal Maroons in six overtimes, 3:30 shy of a third complete game.
In round one this year alone, there were 16 overtime games including one series that went to five straight overtime games. On one night, three out of four games went to OT. Wednesday, the Rangers needed almost a full second game to top the Capitals in triple overtime after more missed scoring chances than an entire soccer season. The drama and sheer volume of play makes hockey a much better bang for your puck.