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April 17, 2009

History Tells Us....Quick OT Goals Equals Series Victories

Unlike most jobs, hockey players do not get paid extra to work overtime.

Maybe that's why Martin Havlat was in such a hurry last night. He scored just 12 seconds into overtime, giving Chicago a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead.

Stanley Cup Record?

Now that must be some sort of record, right? Nope, not even close. Havlat's goal was the third faster Stanley Cup overtime goal in NHL history.

On May 18th, 1986, Montreal's Brian Skrudland, pictured to the right, scored just 9 seconds into overtime in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals against Calgary. The goal, assisted by Mike McPhee and Claude Lemieux, gave Montreal the game 3-2. They would go on to win the series 4 games to 1.

The previous record was held by J. P. Parise, father of Zach Parise. On April 11th, 1975 the elder Parise scored just 11 seconds in to OT, giving the New York Islanders a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. The Islanders won that series, too, 2 games to 1 in the old best of three set up.

In fact, Havlat only equals the Chicago team record. On April 9th, 1972 Pit Martin also scored a goal 12 seconds into overtime against Pittsburgh. Chicago went on to win that series 4 games to 0.

Notice how in each case that the team that scored the most sudden of sudden death goals went on to win the series? It is a small sample size, but that bodes well for Chicago.

Other Quick Goals

While we are on the topic of fast goals, Skrudland's goal is not the fastest from the start of a period.

That record is shared by Los Angeles' Don Kozak and Philadelphia's Pelle Eklund, who both scored just 6 seconds into the period.

Kozak's goal, on April 17th, 1977 against Boston, actually came in the first period, the record for the fastest goal from the start of a playoff game. The Kings won that game 7-4.

Eklund's 6 second goal opened the second period of the Flyers-Penguins game on April 25th, 1989. Pittsburgh actually would win that wild game 10-7.

Bob Gainey and Terry Murray scored goals just 7 seconds into the game.

Bill Collins, Dave Balon, Murray Oliver, Clark Gillies, Eric Vail, Stan Smyl, Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier joined Skrudland with goals just 9 seconds into a period.

1 comment:

Sean Fran├žois said...

Great piece Joe! Love the research and facts you've put into this.

Skrudland 9 seconds in...crazy...and in a Cup Final at that!