Nearly a third of postseason games thus far have gone to extra time, which has been thrilling for hockey fans and newcomers alike
If the 2011 NHL playoffs had it a tagline, it would be: Bad for bedtimes, good for the game. Or, if you're the TV-promo type: THRILLS! SUSPENSE! SUDDEN DEATH EVERY NIGHT! IT'S THE 2011 NHL POSTSEASON ON NBC AND VERSUS!
Overtime has been a part of the hockey's playoff season for decades, producing some of the game's most memorable moments and controversial finishes. But this year fans of the extra session (or two) have been treated to an embarrassment of sudden-death riches: Since April 19, just one day (April 28th) has passed without an NHL playoff game going to overtime.
The numbers are staggering, even when the traditionally close action of postseason hockey is factored in. Of the last 35 playoff games this year, 17 have gone to overtime. In total, 32.7 percent of 2011 postseason games thus far have gone to extra time, compared to just 12.1 percent in the regular season. In last year's playoffs, only 20.2 percent of games went to overtime; the year before, it was 18.4 percent. To put it another way, there have been more OT contests in the last 35 playoff games this year than there were in the entire 2009 postseason, which had 87 games.