I have a vague recollection of something from the late 80s and/or early 90s (i guess even medium time fans should remember this)that i haven't really been able to verify but would love to know if anyone else knows if my memory is right or maybe why some other folks and I also remember things this way.
Back then, I distinctly recall that while playoff seri (sera?) were played under sudden death overtime rules, the actual SC Finals had whole 20 minute overtime periods until one team held the lead at the end of a period. My fuzzy thinking tells me a remember the Oilers/Bruins final in 90 or 91 being played like this. And I assumed it was still the rule until the dallas/buffalo series ended sudden death.
I've tried to find old rule books to back me up but haven't had any luck. So anyone care to add there thuoghts?
I don't have any memory of this, as long as I've been watching its been suden death, however I could be wrong, Im good at it. From looking at NHL.com's history section The Cup was decided in OT in 1980 & 1996 without going the full 20 minutes. But no series was decided in OT between those dates and they only have the series winning goal information not the individual games. However the playoff format page makes no mention of the OT system you describe.
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I've checked with a few friends who are as die-hard hockey fans as I am and none of us can remember this. I've also done a search of some of the Net's better hockey sites and couldn't find anything. I'm intrigued, though, so I'll keep looking
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As my fellow hockey nuts have already mentioned, it's always been Sudden Death.
The game your'e thinking about between the Oilers and Bruins from the '90 Cup Finals may be Game 1. After the Oilers swept Gretzky and the Kings (bastards) they beat someone else in the Conference Finals and played the Bruins to 3OT in Game One, which I think is still the longest game played in Stanley Cup Finals history.
Even then, this game was being played under Sudden Death rules....which Edmonton won, but, yeah, I've never heard of the format that was brought up here.