Before Sunday night, only one game in these NHL playoffs had gone past the first overtime frame. Philly and Washington skated a full six minutes into a second extra period of their Eastern Conference quarter-final Game 7 before former Oiler Joffrey Lupul netted the winner for the Flyers. So Ill admit I was waiting with bated breath for a game that would keep me glued to the screen until some ungodly hour of the morning. Granted, I would have preferred an Eastern Conference matchup as opposed to the marathon that was the Stars-Sharks Game 6 in Dallas. But the bags under my eyes and less than chipper demeanor throughout Monday were a worthy sacrifice for having seen the entirety of what could and probably will be the best game of the playoffs this year, maybe even since before the lockout. End to end action, big hits, virtually no official inteference in the way of bad penalties or unecessary icing calls, and play between the pipes from Turco and Nabokov that will forever define the remainder of their careers. But despite the netminders play through six games, the biggest storyline from that series is Brendan Morrow setting the example of who a team captain should be come playoff time. Hes hitting, hes scoring, hes killing penalties, hes everywhere and he was there when it counted to score the winner. Storybook ending. Fantastic. At this point, if the Stars can make it past the Wings, Id give Morrow the Conn Smythe regardless of whether Dallas hoists the Cup or not. But there could be more value to this game than just the excitement it brought to an already riveting Cup run. When the League and GMs meet next, theres expected to be some discussion about going to 4-on-4 after one, two or three overtimes, maybe even make it the standard for overtime. That discussion could be shorter after the excitement and energy created by three and a half extra periods. So, thank you Dallas and San Jose for possibly saving us from another disastrous and completely unecessary NHL rule change can you say shootout? *** On a side note ... Its funny how Dallas seems to find themselves in overtime situations so often. This series took seven extra frames, or, mathematically speaking, two and a third extra games. In the Stars 2007 quarterfinal they played six overtimes (2 games) against the Canucks including a 138-minute and six-second affair that was Game 1, the sixth longest game in NHL history. In a five game series versus the Avalanche in 2006... three more overtimes. The same against the Avalanche in 2004. In 2003, the Stars had the dubious honour of playing in the fourth longest game in NHL history a 4-3 loss to Anaheim in the conference semis.
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