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2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

ECF, Game 1: Florida Panthers 3, Carolina Hurricanes 2 (4OT)

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The Eastern Conference finals kicked off between the Florida Panthers and host Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night and, if things go like Game 1 did, this is going to be one whale of a series.

Thursday was not long enough to contain this one as it ended up being the longest game played in franchise history — for both teams.

Overtime? Baby stuff.

How about four of ‘em?

It was almost five.

The Panthers ended up keeping their road winning streak intact, scoring twice in the second and getting a Matthew Tkachuk goal in the fourth overtime early Friday morning to beat the Hurricanes 3-2 and win their seventh consecutive road game dating to Game 2 in Boston of the opening round.

Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 63 saves on Thursday, has six of those wins.

The Panthers are now 5-0 in overtime during the playoffs with four of those wins away from Sunrise. Bobrovsky has all of the OT wins.

Bobrovsky has now given up just two goals in each of his past six games.

Tkachuk’s goal came within 12.7 seconds away from a fifth overtime — in the sixth-longest game in NHL history.

The game finally ended at 1:54 a.m.

“I’m excited to get out of here,” Tkachuk said, “excited for the 2:35 bus back to the hotel and get some sleep and get some food in us.”

Florida got second-period goals from Sasha Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe back on Thursday night with Anthony Duclair recording the primary assists.

Frederik Andersen made 57 stops in the loss.

Bobrovsky became just the third goalie in NHL history to make at least 50 saves in consecutive playoff games after stopping 50 in Game 5 against the Leafs. Jusse Saros (2021) and Curtis Joseph (1993) are the others.

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The Panthers appeared to win the game on a goal from Ryan Lomberg at 2:34 of the first overtime but Colin White got tangled up with Andersen and could not get away due to Jack Drury.

After a video review, the goal was taken off the board due to goalie interference and play continued.

And kept going, and going, and going.

The Panthers played the longest game in their history exceeding Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final against Colorado which ended 4:31 into triple OT.

Carolina eclipsed its record late in the third overtime, besting Game 2 (114:47) of the 2002 Final against Detroit.

The two teams blew past those previous marks as they played what amounted to 2 1/3 full games.

Paul Maurice coached the Hurricanes then and was behind the bench for the Panthers in this one.

Per the NHL: Video review determined Florida’s Colin White had a significant presence in the crease and made incidental contact with goaltender Frederik Andersen that impaired his ability to play his position prior to Ryan Lomberg’s goal.

After a first period in which the Panthers did not have much room to work — and gave up a late power play goal — Florida controlled much of the play in the second and took a lead into the third.

Down 1-0, Barkov tied the score on a wicked wrister from the left circle off a sharp cross-ice pass from Duclair from the half wall at 15:28. This came after the Panthers mustered two weak SOGs on a pair of power play chances.

Just over 2 minutes later, Verhaeghe gave Florida its first lead of the night by taking the puck from Duclair, working into the right circle and beating Anderson at 17:43.

Florida outshot the Hurricanes 8-5 in the second but the tide would turn in the third.

Carolina tied the score on a second power play goal — this one a tic-tac-toe number from Stefan Noesen at 3:47 — and completed dominated Florida over the course of the 20 minutes.

The Hurricanes not only outshot the Panthers 14-2 in the third (with the second SOG coming off a Brandon Montour shot that should not have been allowed with 41 seconds left) but had a 22-5 shot attempt advantage as well.

Per NaturalStatTrick.com, Carolina had a 14-0 edge in scoring chances.

Just dominant, yet it was 2-2 and headed to overtime.

There, Florida’s biggest chance was the Lomberg goal which was taken away; Carolina had another power play at 11:51 of overtime and Seth Jarvis hit the inside of the crossbar off a rebound.

The Panthers had a power play after Duclair was held by Brent Burns — and hit the ice, avoiding serious injury as he was hit in the face by both skates of defenseman Jaccob Slavin.

Duclair was bloodied but otherwise OK.

After being held to 2 shots on goal in the third, Florida was outshot by the Hurricanes 7-5 in the opening overtime period.

None of those shots came on the power play chance.

In the first period, both teams had numerous scoring chances with both goalies keeping it scoreless until the final seconds.

Bobrovsky, who made a SportsCenter save on a Drury shot delivered by a sliding Jesperi Kotkaniemi, was on during a 5-on-3 power play in which Marc Staal went in for tripping and Aaron Ekblad cross-checked Stefan Noesen in front of the net.

Just as the Staal penalty expired, Jarvis one-timed a Sebastian Aho pass from the slot to give Carolina a 1-0 lead.

Carolina ended up getting three power plays in the first period (Sam Bennett took a delay-of-game) with the Hurricanes getting 7 of their 12 shots with the advantage.

— Lomberg was back in the lineup after being out since Game 5 of the Boston series following a hand injury. He replaced Zac Dalpe on the fourth line.

GOALS OF THE GAME

  • Carolina 1, Florida 0 (19:48 PP, 1st): Seth Jarvis, moments after being stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky, rips one from the slot just as the first of two penalties on Florida expires. Paul Maurice? Not happy with the officials.
  • Florida 1, Carolina 1 (15:28, 2nd): Sasha Barkov gets the first goal of the ECF for the Panthers with a snipe from the left circle off a nice feed from Anthony Duclair.
  • Florida 2, Carolina 1 (17:43, 2nd): Carter Verhaeghe gets another playoff goal for the Panthers, scoring from the right circle.
  • Carolina 2, Florida 2 (3:47 PP, 3rd): Martin Necas to Seth Jarvis to Stefan Noesen and it is a tie game.
  • Florida 3, Carolina 2 (19:47, 4OT): Brent Burns turned the puck over in the corner which was picked off by Sam Bennett — who then fed Matthew Tkachuk for the one-timer to end this thing at 1:55 a.m.

GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 1

1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida

2. Frederik Anderson, Carolina

3. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
PANTHERS (WC2) AT CAROLINA HURRICANES (MET1)
GAME 2 (Panthers Lead 1-0)
  • When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
  • TV: TNT
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM, WPOW 95.6 FM2, WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Series Schedule — Game 1: Florida 3, @Carolina 2 (4OT); Game 2:Saturday at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 3: Monday at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 4: Wednesday, May 24 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 5*: Friday, May 26 at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 6*:Sunday, May 28 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 7*: Tuesday, May 30 at Carolina, 8 (TNT). *If Necessary
  • Season Series: (Carolina won 2-1): @Florida 3, Carolina 0 (Nov.9); @Carolina 4, Florida 0 (Dec. 30); Carolina 6, @Florida 4 (April 13)
  • All-Time Regular Season Series: Carolina/Hartford leads 71-46-10, 11 ties
  • Postseason History: First Meeting
  • How They Got Here — Carolina: d. New York Islanders in 6; d. New Jersey Devils in 5. Florida: d. Boston Bruins in 7; d. Toronto Maple Leafs in 5.

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