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Mid-Day Memories: Extra Time at Playoff Time

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Where we look at some odd facts about overtime in Washington Capitals history.

NHL: MAY 07 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Game 6 - Capitals at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the Washington Capitals having just celebrated the second anniversary of winning their first Stanley Cup, we thought we might look back at a peculiar aspect of playoff hockey and the Caps’ experience in it – overtime playoff hockey. For instance, did you know…

  • The Capitals played their first postseason overtime game in 1984 against the New York Islanders, dropping a 5-4 decision in Game 2 of the Patrick Division final. Starting with that first overtime game in franchise history, no team in the league has played more overtime playoff games since the 1983-1984 season than the Caps (69).
  • The Caps are 32-37 in those 69 overtime games overall. They have done slightly better in single overtime games 27-27) than they have when the contest goes past a first overtime (5-10), and the Caps have never won a game that went past a second overtime (0-4).
  • Home or road, it seems to make no difference. The Caps are 14-17 on home ice in overtime playoff games, 18-20 on the road in overtime playoff games.
  • Twice in franchise playoff history the Caps went to overtime in a scoreless game. On April 12, 2012, the Caps lost a 1-0 decision in overtime in Boston in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. The Caps went on to defeat the Bruins in seven games, winning that series in overtime of Game 7. On May 4, 2013, the Caps beat the New York Rangers, 1-0, in overtime of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series. Mike Green scored the game winner at the eight-minute mark of overtime for the win at Verizon Center. The Rangers went on to win that series in seven games.
  • At the other end, the Caps scored six goals in regulation time in a postseason game that went to overtime only once. They lost. On April 19, 1991, the Caps lost a 7-6 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Patrick Division final. The Caps feel behind by two goals three times in that game before taking a 6-5 lead mid-way through the third period. The Pens scored on a Randy Gilhen goal with less than five minutes left to tie it and won it overtime on a Kevin Stevens goal eight minutes into the extra period at Mellon Arena.
  • Of the ten longest games played in NHL history, two were played in Washington, one of three cities to host two top-ten longest NHL playoff games (Montreal and Dallas are the others). The Caps and Stars are the only clubs on that list to have lost both of their top-ten longest games. The Caps lost to the New York Islanders on April 19, 1987 (the game started on April 18th) in the “Easter Epic,” when Pat Lafontaine scored at the 128:47 mark of the game to give the Islanders a 3-2 win in the tenth-longest overtime game in NHL postseason history. The Caps lost a 3-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final on April 24, 1996, when Petr Nedved scored on a power play at the 139:15 mark of the game, the fifth longest postseason game in NHL history.
  • The “Easter Epic” overtime game against the Islanders remains the longest Game 7 in Stanley Cup playoff history.
  • Seven of the Caps’ overtime wins in the playoffs were in series-clinching games:

- 1988: Game 7 of the Patrick Division semi-final. Capitals 5 - Flyers 4 (Dale Hunter).

- 1990: Game 5 of the Patrick Division final. Capitals 2 - at Rangers 1 (John Druce).

- 1998: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. Capitals 3 - at Bruins 2 (Brian Bellows).

- 1998: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final. Capitals 3 - at Sabres 2 (Joe Juneau).

- 2012: Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. Capitals 2 - at Bruins 1 (Joel Ward).

- 2017: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. Capitals 2 - at Maple Leafs 1 (Marcus Johansson).

- 2018: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-final. Capitals 2 - at Penguins 1 (Evgeny Kuznetsov).

  • Washington has dropped six series-clinching games in overtime:

- 1987: Game 7 of the Patrick Division semi-final. Capitals 2 - Islanders 3 (Pat Lafontaine).

- 2001: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. Capitals 3 - at Penguins 4 (Martin Straka).

- 2003: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. Capitals 1 - Lightning 2 (Martin St. Louis)

- 2015: Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-final. Capitals 1 - at Rangers 2 (Derek Stepan).

- 2016: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-final. Capitals 3 - at Penguins 4 (Nick Bonino)

- 2019: Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final. Capitals 3 - Hurricanes 4 (Brock McGinn).

  • There are 27 players in Caps postseason history with at least one overtime game-winning goal. Nicklas Backstrom is the leader with four. Alex Ovechkin is not in that group, but Brooks Orpik is, as is Rod Langway. Orpik and Langway combined for four playoff goals in their respective careers with the Caps (two apiece).
  • There are 35 opponents who account for the 37 overtime goals scored against the Caps in the postseason. Two players have done it twice. Ray Ferraro did it and has the distinction of doing in in consecutive playoff games. He did 4:46 into overtime of Game 3 of the 1993 Patrick Division semi-final in a 4-3 New York Islanders win at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Two nights later, Ferraro scored 5:40 into a second overtime in another 4-3 Islanders win on Long Island. It was the third consecutive overtime game of that series, all of them won by the Islanders (two in double-overtime), who won the series in six games.
  • Vincent Lecavalier also beat the Caps twice in overtime, both times in Washington. He did it 2:29 into overtime of Game 3 of the 2003 Eastern Conference quarter-final, the first of four straight wins for the Tampa Bay Lightning in that series after dropping the first two games. Naturally, the deciding game of that series went to extra time – three overtimes, in fact, a 2-1 Lightning win in Washington. Lecavalier did it to the Caps again in Game 2 of the 2011 Eastern Conference semi-final, 6:19 into overtime of a 3-2 Lightning win. The Lightning swept the Caps in four games.
  • Three future Capitals scored overtime goals against Washington before arriving in DC. Jaromir Jagr did it 5:49 into overtime of Game 2 of the 2000 Eastern Conference quarter-final series, a 2-1 win for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the series in five games. Caps fans might remember that as the series that required a change in scheduling due to conflicts at Mellon Arena. Instead of hosting the first two games at home (the Caps had the best home record in the league), they hosted Game 1 at home and then went to Pittsburgh for Games 2 and 3. That Caps were blown out at home, 7-0, in Game 1, and then they dropped Games 2 (on the Jagr goal) and 3 in Pittsburgh. They lost the series in five games. Jagr would become a Capital in July 2001. We won’t go into that.
  • Mike Knuble scored an overtime goal against the Caps in Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference quarter-final, 6:40 into a 4-3 Philadelphia Flyer win that put the Flyers up, three games to one, in the series. The Caps forced a seventh game in that series but lost Game 7 in, what else…overtime. Knuble joined the Caps in 2009 and played three seasons in Washington before returning to Philadelphia for his last NHL season.
  • The third “future Capital” to score an overtime goal against the Caps in the postseason never played for the Caps. Current general manager Brian MacLellan scored just 76 seconds into overtime of Game 1 of the 1986 Patrick Division final, a 4-3 new York Rangers win over the Caps at Capital Centre. It was his second goal of the game, the only time in his career he scored two goals in a postseason game.
  • Braden Holtby has 14 overtime wins as a Capitals goaltender, almost as many as the other eight goalies with overtime wins combined (18). Three of those wins came in series clinching games. The first was in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarter-final, a 2-1 Caps win that ended the Boston Bruins’ chance to repeat as Stanley Cup champion. He did it again in Game 6 of the 2017 Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a 2-1 win in Toronto to clinch the series. It was the fifth game in six in that series that went to overtime, the Caps winning three of them. No one needs reminding about the third one…