Omen in first victory

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

Vancouver Canucks' diehards lament the club's 1995 move from the Pacific Coliseum to General Motors Place. After all, the Rink on Renfrew hosted an NHL all-star game, two Stanley Cup finals and the fourth game in 1972's Canada/Soviet Union Summit Series.

The Canucks have had little playoff success in the downtown puck palace between the viaducts. It's been tabbed Goons and Muggers Place after it unwittingly hosted two of the ugliest incidents in sports history: Marty McSorley's 2000 stick up the head of Donald Brashear and Todd Bertuzzi's vicious 2004 criminal attack on Steve Moore.

But finally, a night and morning to remember.

The nearly seven periods of action served up by the Dallas Stars and Canucks on Wednesday and Thursday added some much-needed mystique to the corporate atmosphere of the Aquilini aquisition. It would've been sweeter only if Trevor Linden, who turned 37 on Wednesday, had scored the winner.

There have been longer Vancouver Canadians' baseball games at Nat Bailey Stadium, but it was the longest Canucks have ever been on ice in Vancouver or elsewhere.

The quadruple overtime opener of this Western conference quarterfinal wasn't an artistic delight. The Canucks relinquished a two-goal third period lead and should not have gone into overtime, much less four extra 20-minute sessions. But, for whatever reason, the hockey gods smiled on the future Olympic venue. Marty Turco and Roberto Luongo delivered a goaltending duel for the ages in the second three-period set.

The attendance was announced at 18,630 and years from now each and every one of those people will say they were there - even though at least one-third of them were long gone after the second overtime period.

The 76 shots Canuck netminder Luongo faced in his playoff debut was the most since the statistic began to be collected in 1956, eclipsing Kelly Hrudey's 1987 New York Islanders' mark. "Bobby Lu's" 72 saves tied Ed Belfour's 2003 total, one shy of Hrudey's 73.

Dallas Star Sergei Zubov led all players with 55 minutes and eight seconds of ice time during an encounter that ended five hours and 21 minutes after the initial face-off. By comparison, a flight from Vancouver to Dallas is just under six hours in duration.

Henrik Sedin's 5-4 game-winning goal ended the ultramarathon at the 78:06 mark of extra time. If he'd waited 70 seconds, it would've been the fifth longest game in NHL history. Instead, it's No. 6 on the hit list, pushing aside by almost eight minutes a 1943 Toronto Maple Leafs' victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks were two periods shy of the all-time record, a scoreless March 24, 1936 game decided by Detroit Red Wing Mud Bruneteau's goal at 116:30 of overtime, defeating the Montreal Maroons 1-0.

Good news for Vancouver, however. The winners of eight of the 10 longest games were eventual series winners.


Videos

Photos