NEXT TIME regulation ends in a Stanley Cup playoff game, don't change the channel or leave your seat to get a cold refreshment. You might miss the game-winner.

In the playoffs, sudden-death overtime - especially in a series-clinching scenario - is the ultimate television reality show. It's just been a fleeting moment.

Through 53 games, prior to Monday night's action, 18 games (34 percent) had gone to overtime. On average, overtime in those 53 games has lasted just 8:24. Overtime in eight of those 18 games (44 percent) failed to make it past the 3-minute mark. That is good news for those who value sleep.

Last spring, through 53 games, the average was 11:27 - a 26 percent reduction in overtime length over just 1 year.

The league is trending that way after the 2005 lockout. In 2004, the average length of overtime games was 15:16. Only nine of those 53 games (17 percent) went to overtime. The numbers tell us that double the amount of games are going to overtime, but the drama is lasting half as long.

In the seven postseasons since the lockout, there have been 19 double-overtime games, four triple-overtime games and two four-overtime games.

There have been three double-overtime games this spring alone, matching the combined number from 2009 and 2010, but the added time still hasn't skewed the average.

The Flyers (2-0) needed a combined 7:09 of extra time to finish off their two overtime games. If Danny Briere's first goal was not disallowed, the Flyers' average overtime victory length would have been cemented at 2:17.

The Flyers haven't the slightest clue why the goals are coming so quick. Jake Voracek, the hero against Pittsburgh, chalked it up to fresh ice. James van Riemsdyk said it's a race to score in the first 5 minutes, since teams know the opportunity won't last long.

"I think teams try to push and push to get that early goal," van Riemsdyk said. "Once you get to that 5-minute point, though, I think everyone starts to settle in for a long night."