On November 29, 2000, the St. Louis Blues erased a 5-0 3rd period deficit to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5. That achieved the largest 3rd period comeback in NHL history.
The Blues scored their six goals in 15 minutes and 27 seconds. That marked the fastest time a team has come back from a five-goal deficit in NHL history.
St. Louis wouldn’t score their first of the night until about 5 minutes into the final 20, with Chris Pronger’s 4th of the season lighting the lamp for St. Louis. This made things 5-1 in favor of Toronto, and the Blues weren’t done yet.
After 2 different goals by D Alexander Khavanov, who tallied at 6:53 on the power play and then tied the game with just 25 seconds remaining in regulation. Additional goals by Al McInnis on the man advantage at 8:37 and Micheal Handzus at 14:20 led to St. Louis having tied the game at 5 goals apiece.
In overtime, LW Jochen Hecht sent the fans into a frenzy. He only needed 18 seconds to give the Blues one of the most improbable regular-season wins in NHL history.
The Blues’ incredible turnaround seemed to only happen after then head coach Joel Quenneville pulled the starting goalie for that night for the Blues, Roman Turek. The Blues made a goaltender swap beforehand, replacing Turek with backup Brent Jonhson. This came after the former allowed a total of 5 goals on 23 shots faced.
After that, it looked like every shot the Blues made went past Toronto netminder Curtis Joseph. That made it all a little sweeter since the Blues were often owned by their former goaltender
The improbable victory improved St. Louis’ record to 16-4-3 for 35 points, first in the Central Division. The Leafs dropped to 12-8-2-2 for 31 points, second to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Quenneville said the Blues originally couldn’t have played any worse, but on that night, they played better than they had ever done before. Hecht, the overtime hero, compared the 3rd period comeback to a similar comeback from a 4-0 deficit to tie the Los Angeles Kings earlier that same season.
The Blues would finish the 2000-2001 NHL regular season with a record of 43-22-12-5, finishing 2nd in the NHL’s Central Division behind the Detroit Red Wings. Totaling 43 wins, 22 regulation losses, 12 ties, and 5 overtime losses, St. Louis made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals in that year’s playoffs, losing in 5 games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, who finished atop the Northwest Division that season.
It might be overstating it to say those kinds of comebacks spurred that team. However, it gave the team the belief they could stay alive in any game against any team.
It would take almost 19 more years before the Blues won the Stanley Cup. Those were the kinds of effort that always kept hope alive for fans of the Note.