Thrilling Moments Have Been Made in Hockey History
But this New Battle Has Brought Even More
The Blackhawks may lead 3-2 coming into tonight’s game, but if there’s one thing that this Stanley Cup finals has proven, it’s that the Cup is still very much up for grabs. This series has felt like an utter mystery. We feel as if we’re waiting in suspense for Stephen King to open the door so we can see what kind of demon really did lurk inside the house for the whole movie.
Fast is one thing; speed is a necessity in hockey. However, the brute force, the strength and passion that both of these teams are showing, has proven that no matter who is coming on the strongest – they may not win it in the end.
One error, one mistake, one look over the shoulder at the wrong time and either team will take advantage of that quick loss of concentration. Games that have gone into triple-overtimes, the shots from everywhere, the goalies who seem to look like they’re professionals on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ considering the moves they’ve been making to block that puck – this whole series has literally shown hockey in a new light.
Yes, hockey is always the down-to-the-ground, gritty, mean sport that everyone loves. Even with the rules and regulations, you almost feel like you’re watching a real life Fight Club happen right in front of you. But people have got to give it up for this NHL series, because both teams have taken every game to the mat – fighting with every skill and talent they have to come out on top.
So as we revel in this thrilling series and wait for the next exciting moment, it’s fitting to look back at a few past games that were literally ‘golden nuggets’ in the world of hockey.
Going way back to 1936, fans can discover what was the longest playoff game in history between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons; we’re talking about six overtimes, lasting an entire game longer than Brett Hull’s triple-overtime thrill-fest in 1999. After 116 minutes, 30 seconds of extra time, this match-up finally ended at 2:25 a.m., allowing the Red Wings to move on and claim the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup finals Game 7 in 1950 once again starred the Detroit Red Wings, but this time they were up against the New York Rangers. Going into triple-overtime, this game was called the most thrilling finale ever seen in the history of the sport. Rangers won Games 4 and 5 on OT goals; Red Wings won Game 6 with a third-period rally that forced a Game 7; and then an American (one of the very few in the NHL at the time), Pete Babando, scored in order for the Red Wings to once again take the Cup.
I would be lax if I did not mention the two games that will forever be on billboards and stuck in the minds of hockey fans for all time, no matter what comes along. It was the 1972 Summit Series, Game 8, where Team Canada beat the Soviet Union 6-5. Tied 3-3-1 heading into the final game in Moscow, the emotion was out of control. Canada coach Harry Sinden tossed a stool and metal chair onto the ice, opening the door for 2,000 Canadian fans to start chanting, “Let’s go home!” The Soviets led 5-3 entering the third period, but Canada rose to the test and scored two to tie it up. And when Paul Henderson converted a pass with only 34 seconds remaining, Canadian sports history was changed for all time.
It will always be called “The Miracle on Ice.” In the 1980 Olympic semifinal the United States of America took on the Soviet Union – and literally didn’t stand a chance. These were not professionals; no NIKE commercials had been made and no sponsorship deals had occurred. These scrappy Americans were just a bunch of college players going up against the Herculean Soviets, whose roster was filled with the best players in the world.
There was no chance for David to win against Goliath. After all, in an exhibition game just two weeks before the Olympics began, the Soviets won 10-3. However, everything changed during that semifinal game in Lake Placid.
Leading 3-2 entering the final period, Mark Johnson tied the game with just under twelve minutes left to play. Not two minutes later, team captain Mike Eruzione scored. America stood. America shone. The crowd went so crazy it actually looked like they were going to head straight out onto the ice. The Goalie, Jim Craig, finished with 36 saves and, “God Bless America” could be heard all over the globe. Two days later Finland fell and America walked away with the gold medal. But the scene, the flags, the beauty of that moment against the Soviets – well…nothing will ever top that one moment in time.
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Until Next Time, Everybody,