The Stanley Cup playoffs are known for being one of the most thrilling and grueling postseason spectacles in all of sports, but the NHL's minor league affiliate -- the American Hockey League -- also brings its fair share of playoff insanity.
Just look at what happened between the LeHigh Valley Phantoms (affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers) and the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes affiliate) this week. Game 4 of their playoff series was held on Wednesday night, and it went to five overtimes. Yes, FIVE.
The score was deadlocked at 1-1 for nearly four and a half overtime periods until the Phantoms' Alex Krushelnyski scored the game-winner, which was presumably the most important and exhausting goal he's ever scored in his life. But the Phantoms never would have made it to that point if it weren't for the absurd performance of their goaltender, Alex Lyon.
Despite coming out on top on the scoreboard, LeHigh Valley was outshot 95-53 in the game. That means the 25-year-old Lyon made 94 saves in the victory. That's 94 stops on 95 shots, or a .989 save percentage through nearly eight periods of hockey.
Forget a steak dinner. That guy's team owes him an entire cow.
Incredibly, Lyon's performance isn't even a league record. Former Albany River Rats goalie Michael Leighton made 98 saves in another five-overtime playoff game back in 2008, and it was the Phantoms who also won that game. (Best 5OT hockey team in the world!) Leighton may narrowly hold the record, but he was on the losing side of that contest.
One would assume a game of that length is incredibly taxing -- both mentally and physically -- and coming up on the losing end can be an absolute backbreaker. That demoralizing feeling has to be amplified when you consider the Checkers' shot total advantage, and the fact that the loss pushes them to the brink of elimination (3-1) in the series.
Good luck climbing out of that one.