Another record broken: 16 first-round overtime games

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If you’re the type who loves to exclaim “free hockey” whenever overtime rolls around, then the first round of the 2012 playoffs has been a treat. In fact, it’s been a historically good time to roll out that meme, as Game 7 of the New Jersey Devils-Florida Panthers series was the 16th game to go to OT – setting a new record for the first round.

While there have been a few series that haven’t been tooth-and-nail battles, plenty of records for close games have been broken.

Off the top of my head, the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals generated the first series in which all seven contests were decided by a single goal. Meanwhile, the first five games of the Phoenix Coyotes-Chicago Blackhawks series went to overtime, becoming just the second series to do so.

Ultimately, it only makes sense that the Philadelphia Flyers will need to wait that much longer to find out which team they’ll face in the second round.