Ben Fraser The Hockey Writers
Senators History: 5 Longest Playoff Games
The Ottawa Senators have quite the extensive record in the playoffs, and quite a few games have gone to extra time. Some of the longest in franchise history have gone multiple extra periods, with some marathon games lasting more than four hours total. Not all of them have ended in glory, but they remain etched in the memories of fans. Here are the five longest games in Senators’ history.
At Penguins – May 19, 2013
In the Senators second-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, the “Pesky Sens” season was swiftly brought to an end by Sidney Crosby and his teammates. For the most part, the Sens played a competitive five games, including a lengthy Game 3.
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In the third game of the series, Tyler Kennedy opened the scoring in the final few minutes of the second period. When Erik Karlsson took a slashing penalty with under two minutes left in the third, all seemed lost for Ottawa; until a familiar face gave the team a renewed sense of hope. Daniel Alfredsson potted an unlikely, tying, shorthanded goal with 29 seconds left on the clock, sending the game into overtime.
It took until the middle of the second extra frame to end the game when an unlikely scorer ended it for Ottawa. Cleaning up a rebound from Erik Condra’s shot from the slot, Colin Greening put in the game-winner. The game ended after 87:39 seconds of play, the fifth-longest in Senators’ history.
The series loss wasn’t a surprise, as the Senators were the massive underdogs. It was good to get at least one good memory from another match-up with Pittsburgh.
Vs. Bruins – April 21, 2017
In the Senators’ first-round bout with the Boston Bruins in 2017, four of the six games went to overtime. The longest of the series, and the fourth-longest in Ottawa’s history, took 90 minutes and 19 seconds of play. Playing in double overtime is a punch in the guts whenever it happens, but it doesn’t help when you blow a lead in order to get there.
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The Senators went up two goals early in the second period on goals from Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, but things began to unravel soon after. By the end of the period, the Bruins had tied up the game on goals by David Pastrnak and Sean Kuraly. When the score remained tied after the third, they entered the first of their two overtime periods.
Once again, the first overtime remained scoreless, and the game entered its fifth period of play. It took 10 minutes and 19 seconds for the Bruins to end the game, as the then-rookie Kuraly made sure to end the game on a high note for him and his teammates.
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After a faceoff was won back to Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, he put a slapshot towards the net which was knocked down by David Backes in front, before deflecting to Kuraly, who faced a wide-open net, and deposited the game-winner.
The Senators went on to defeat the Bruins in six games, but that particular game was tough to swallow, especially with a 3-1 series lead on home ice.
Vs. Sabres – April 23, 1999
In 1999, the Senators were about to begin the most successful stretch in the history of their club. Standing in the way that season were the Buffalo Sabres, who were also in the midst of a very successful stretch. With future Senator and Hall-of-Fame goalie Dominik Hasek manning the net, Buffalo was a force to be reckoned with. The Sens had the better season, but the Sabres were able to handle them with relative ease, dispatching them in a four-game sweep.
Even though the Sens were defeated quite easily, the second game of the series became the third-longest in their history. Regardless of the result, it remains in their history as a very memorable game.
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The Senators went down less than a minute into the first period when Sabres forward Joe Juneau scored 58 seconds into the game. Ottawa fought back in the second, taking the lead on power play goals from Shawn McEachern and Daniel Alfredsson, and they held it until the middle of the third. Buffalo tied the game when Miroslav Satan scored at the 6:43 mark of the final regulation frame.
The score remained tied through the first period and a half of overtime before Satan scored, ending the affair. His second goal of the game came at 10:35 of the second overtime, officially ending the game after 90 minutes and 35 seconds. The Sabres finished off the Sens four days later at home, marking an end to the Senators’ best season yet.
At Maple Leafs – May 4, 2002
The 2001-02 Senators season saw the peak of the battle of Ontario between Ottawa and the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the 2002 playoffs being the third straight match-up between the inter-provincial rivals. Their second-round bout that year was memorable for another series that went back and forth across seven games. The second game went down in history as an instant classic. The triple-overtime affair is the longest game between Toronto and Ottawa, and the second-longest in Sens history.
Toronto took the pace of play early in the game with goals from Travis Green and Darcy Tucker, ending the first period with a two-goal lead. The Senators took back the momentum, as Sami Salo put them within one at 7:52 of the second period, giving the Sens a fighting chance going into the third. Mike Fisher tied the game just under three minutes into the third, and it was to be the last one scored for more than 60 minutes. It took multiple overtime periods to end this battle.
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At the 4:30 mark of the third overtime, Leafs forward Gary Roberts took the puck from a pile-up after Robert Reichel won a faceoff in Ottawa’s zone, and found himself alone in front of the net facing down Patrick Lalime. Roberts beat Lalime clean, officially ending the game at the 104:30 mark.
The Leafs eventually won the series, gaining another victory over Ottawa. To this day, the Sens have yet to beat Toronto in a playoff series, which remains a point of frustration among fans.
At Penguins – April 22, 2010
The longest game in Senators’ history was played in the fifth game of their 2010 first-round series with the Penguins. In what could have been the deciding game of the series, both teams battled it out in a three-overtime epic.
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The first period was an exciting one, with the Sens taking a two-goal lead behind the goals of Fisher and Jarkko Ruutu. The Penguins answered back when Kris Letang scored toward the end of the frame. The second was going rather smoothly until Chris Kunitz tied the game with under two minutes left. Going into the third, the game was well within reach for both teams, and in that period, Crosby and Peter Regin traded goals less than two minutes apart.
Matt Carkner the Senators defenseman who had made his career as a fighter was holding the blue line in the third overtime when he received a pass from Alfredsson. At the 7:06 mark, he took a slapshot from the point, beating Marc-Andre Fleury, ending the game. In total the game took 107 minutes and six seconds of play to complete, which broke the team record by nearly three minutes.
In his career, the goal that Carkner scored is the only one he scored in the playoffs. The Sens lost the series in six, but that game will always be memorable to those fans who were able to stay awake for the whole affair.
The Senators franchise has had lots of experience when it comes to overtime playoff games. The team’s record in playoff games that go to overtime is 16-14, so the fanbase has lots of examples to fall back upon. Playoff overtime is one of the most exciting things in hockey, even when it seems like it drags on and on. When that last goal finally goes in, all that time is made worth it.
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