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Dreger: Why so many short overtimes?

Darren Dreger
5/5/2008 12:24:33 AM
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Fifteen games this postseason have required overtime - two more than last year.

Marian Hossa's series-clinching goal 7:10 into overtime on Sunday furthers a trend of  games decided in the first period of overtime.

Six of the 13 overtime games last year were decided in the first overtime period, while the remaining seven needed a second overtime period or longer.

Only one such marathon this year, with 13 of the 15 games decided in the first 12 minutes and three ended by the winning team's first shot.

No one is complaining, but it's a trend that is difficult to explain.

Experts are required, coaches, managers, NHL executives.

One NHL coach contends lackluster goaltending is the reason why OT's are ending so quickly. There may be something to that. Goalies have combined for a weak .880 save percentage in overtime this spring.

Another coach wonders if officiating is a factor, with the notion we're seeing more late game penalties. However, just two of this season's 15 overtime games have been decided by a power play goal.

This theory was supported by others, with the thinking players and coaches have abandoned the pre-lockout mentality of defend first and wait for a mistake, be it a turnover or penalty before shifting to offence.

There is ample evidence in today's game to prove fouls will be called, so coaches may be embracing a run and gun attack believing this approach will either lead to a goal, or draw a penalty.

We may have a winner with regular season numbers to further back the case.

According to the NHL, 55 % of regular season overtime games ended in overtime.

The "go for it" theory earned the majority vote with goaltending and a very honest, "I have no idea" battling for second.

Darren Dreger

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