In 2022, Argentina and France faced off in the final of the World Cup in Qatar and treated fans to what was arguably the perfect game of soccer before Lionel Messi and Co. walked away with the sport’s ultimate prize.
While that match more than lived up to the lofty expectations surrounding it, the ending also left a bit to be desired when you consider it came down to the penalty kicks that were used to decide the outcome as opposed to letting things play out on the pitch.
There’s obviously something to be said for the drama that unfolded in that final showdown, and while using penalties to determine a winner isn’t a new development in soccer, I’ve always been fairly shocked that the final game of a tournament featuring the best players in the world (especially one that only takes place every four years) opts for that type of ending as opposed to letting things play out on the pitch.
I know there’s a reason that format is the standard; players are already tired after 90 minutes, and you run the risk of allowing fatigue and injuries to play an inordinate role in the ending if you opt for unlimited periods of extra time instead of cutting things off at a certain point.
However, as a hockey fan, I can’t even fathom a universe where a shootout ends up being the deciding factor when it determines which team earns the right to hoist the Stanley Cup.
Thankfully, the NHL has spared us that fate thanks by refusing to stray from its tried-and-true formula if the score is tied at the end of regulation in the postseason.
The regular season may feature a five-minute three-on-three period followed by a potential shootout, but when the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around, both teams are tasked with playing as long as they need to until someone scores.
That format has produced some absolutely electric contests over the years—as well as more than a few incredible marathons.
What’s the longest game in Stanley Cup Playoff history?
According to NHL records, the first overtime game in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs took place when the Montreal Canadiens and the Seattle Metropolitans faced off all the way back in 1919.
That series was a bit strange when you consider Seattle was a member of the PCHL, and the two sides had agreed to alternate which league’s rules applied on the ice in each game of the showdown.
Game 4 of the series was an absolute battle, and neither team was able to score a goal before it ended in a 0-0 tie after two overtimes.
The Metropolitans attempted to argue Game 5 should be played under PCHL rules because the previous contest was technically undecided, which resulted in the NHL altering its rules to eliminate the possibility of a tie in the postseason (the Canadiens ultimately earned a 4-3 by netting the game-winning goal 15:33 into the first and only overtime period).
That rule has remained in place for over 100 years, and no teams have been subjected to the grind the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons had to deal with in a Stanley Cup Playoff game that took place on March 24, 1936.
As was the case in the aforementioned contest, neither squad was able to net a single goal in the first three periods. That remained the case in the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth overtime before Detroit’s Mud Bruneteau scored the winning tally with 3:30 remaining in the sixth to prevent what would have been the equivalent of the start of the third straight regulation game of hockey played that day.
No one has really come close to sniffing that mark in the modern era, but the Flyers and the Penguins did what they could in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2000, which went into five overtimes before Philadelphia’s Keith Primeau finally broke the deadlock.
There’s a chance the Red Wings and Maroons could be unseated at some point—and I already feel for any players that have to deal with the fallout.