If Boston wins at home tonight, the Stanley Cup Finals will head back to Canada for a deciding Game 7. If Vancouver wins, the Canucks will clinch their first Stanley Cup in three tries. But what if the teams tie?
It’s highly unlikely that tonight’s game will end in a draw. After all, Rule 84.5 of the NHL rulebook dictates that when a Stanley Cup Playoff game is tied at the end of regulation, the teams will play 20-minute overtime periods, and the team scoring the first goal will be declared the winner. But since 1927, there have been three ties in Stanley Cup Finals history, and all three have involved the Bruins.
In 1927, the Bruins and Ottawa Senators played to a 0-0 tie in Game 1 of what was supposed to be a best-of-three series. NHL President Frank Calder decided that the ice at the Boston Garden was unplayable after two 10-minute overtime periods and called the game. Calder ruled that subsequent games would use the same two-overtime format and that if the series wasn’t decided after five games, the Bruins and Senators would share the title. Ottawa won Game 2. The teams tied Game 3.
As Seabury Lawrence wrote in The New York Times before Ottawa’s 3-1 win to clinch the series (2-0-2) in Game 4, “These deadlocks have resulted in so many ifs, ands and buts being inserted into the situation that it will probably go down in history as the hypothetical hockey series.”
There wasn’t another tie in the Stanley Cup Finals until 1988, when the power went out at the Boston Garden with the Bruins and Oilers tied 3-3 in the second period of Game 4. The game was suspended and replayed in its entirety two nights later in Edmonton, where the Oilers won 6-3 to complete a four-game sweep. “The Americans will call it 4-A,” Edmonton star Wayne Gretzky said of the relocated game. “We’ll call it 4, eh?”
Note: We failed to mention the tie in Game 4 of the 1919 Stanley Cup Finals. That year, the series was called off due to an influenza outbreak. Thanks, Jeff!