Alex Burrows (Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated)
Matt Beleskey’s overtime goal came so quickly from the start of overtime – just 45 seconds – that some fans in Anaheim weren’t even yet back in their seats, but it’s not the quickest overtime tally in playoff history. Matter of fact, it’s not even the fastest in this post-season.
Once it got to overtime, few expected Monday evening’s contest between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks to go anything less than one full overtime period. Shockingly, however, it was over almost as soon as it started – 45 seconds in, Matt Beleskey had won the game.
The series had already seen double- and triple-overtime contests, so Game 5 had that special “Here we go again” feel to it. That wasn’t the case, though.
While Beleskey’s tally was a quick strike that left some fans waiting to get back to their seats in time to catch the overtime and some watching at home hearing the contest end from in front of the refrigerator, it’s far from the quickest overtime-winner in NHL playoff history. All-time, it ranks as the 33rd fastest overtime marker and it’s not even the quickest this post-season.
Here are the five fastest overtime winners:
Honorable Mention: John Tavares, 15 seconds
New York Islanders 3, Washington 2, April 19, 2015
The only reason Beleskey doesn’t have the quickest overtime goal in the post-season is because Tavares’ goal is almost impossible to beat. Matter of fact, there are only five goals in the history of NHL playoff overtime that have come earlier in the extra frame than Tavares’ tally.
It’s not the most memorable goal as far as pure skill goes, but surely it’ll be one Tavares remembers for the rest of his career. It’s not every day you score an overtime game-winning goal in the post-season, but it’s rarer that the goal comes before your linemates even get a chance to think about heading off for a change.
5. Pit Martin, 12 seconds
Chicago Blackhawks 6, Pittsburgh Penguins 5, April 9, 1972
In his career, Martin scored 27 playoff goals in 100 contests, but only one of them ever came as the overtime winner. Of all the clubs Martin played for over his 17 seasons in the NHL, he spent most of his time with the Chicago Blackhawks, so it’s fitting, too, that he registered the clutch game-winner while playing in the Windy City.
The goal itself came just 12 seconds into the overtime period and was the tally that completed the sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins and sent Chicago on to the semifinals. In the second round, Chicago would drop four straight to the New York Rangers.
4. Martin Havlat, 12 seconds
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Calgary Flames 2, April 16, 2009
Coincidentally, the only other overtime winner to occur exactly 12 seconds into the first overtime period also came off the stick of a Chicago Blackhawk. Arguably the post-season that began Chicago’s current run of good play, Havlat’s overtime winner came almost immediately off the overtime opening faceoff.
After the Flames threw the puck through the middle of the ice, David Bolland stepped up to pick off the pass and then fed the puck over to Havlat, who buried the winner.
The goal was one of the last Havlat scored as a Blackhawk. In the off-season, Chicago didn’t re-sign him and he was inked to a deal by the Minnesota Wild.
3. J.P. Parise, 11 seconds
New York Islanders 4, New York Rangers 3, April 11, 1975
In 1975-75, the playoff format was adjusted to include a preliminary round for the post-season pitting each division’s second seeds against third seeds for the right to move on to a second round. It just so happened that for the first time in franchise history, the Islanders had locked up a playoff berth by finishing third in the Patrick Division. In second place? None other than the New York Rangers.
Through two games, the Islanders and Rangers were even at one win apiece, and it set up for a Game 3. Of course, the game went to overtime after the teams battled to a 3-3 tie through three periods.
It set up one of the most memorable overtime endings in New York Islanders history, which is interesting because the period was over almost as soon as it started. All told, from puck drop to game-winning goal, 11 seconds passed before J.P. Parise deflected a centering pass home.
2. Alex Burrows, 11 seconds
Vancouver Canucks 3, Boston Bruins 2, June 4, 2011
You may have noticed a pattern emerging with these goals: they all came in April and all occurred in the first round of the post-season. Burrows, however, makes the list thanks to an overtime winner in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.
After opening the scoring in the first period and notching the primary assist on Daniel Sedin’s game-tying goal near the midway mark of the third period, Burrows became the overtime hero on a strange play.
The Bruins turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Burrows quickly broke the other way. With Zdeno Chara defending him, Burrows drove to the net and Tim Thomas, with his unique style, came way out to challenge on what he thought would be a Burrows attempt on goal. Instead, Burrows held the puck, swooped behind the net and with the tip of his stick was able to corral the puck and sweep it into the empty net.
1. Brian Skrudland, 9 seconds
Montreal Canadiens 3, Calgary Flames 2, May 18, 1986
It would take the right mix of crazy bounce and perfect timing for an overtime winner to ever top Skrudland’s nine-second overtime tally in the 1986 Stanley Cup finals.
Like Burrows’ goal, the marker was possible because of a strange bounce, this one somehow ending up on the stick of Mike McPhee. After the puck finally landed from flipping up into the air, McPhee and Skrudland were in alone on a 2-on-1, and Skrudland made no mistake on a wonderful pass by McPhee.
The overtime winner allowed the Canadiens to tie up the series 1-1, and Montreal didn’t drop another game in the matchup. They went on to a 4-1 series victory and their 23rd Stanley Cup in franchise history.