Matthew Tkachuk scored with 13 seconds left in the fourth overtime as the Panthers defeated the Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Series openers are supposed to set the tone for what should become survival of the fittest as this seven-game war rages on.
But the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes didn’t get the memo, as the first game turned into a marathon within itself. Matthew Tkachuk scored with 13 seconds left in the fourth overtime to give the Panthers a 3-2 victory at the Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night, ending the longest game in the history of both franchises.
It took 139 minutes and 47 seconds of gameplay to find a winner, making it the game’s sixth-longest in NHL history. The record belongs to a 1936 game between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Maroons, where Mud Bruneteau’s sixth overtime tally at 116:30 gave Detroit a 1-0 victory.
The contest began at 8:10 p.m. ET and finished at 1:54 a.m. ET, with Stefan Noesen’s game-tying goal at 10:09 PM being the last time a puck would find the back of the net for 4 hours and 44 minutes of real-time.
Most importantly, the victory extended the Panthers’ streak to five, giving them a 1-0 series lead. The Panthers became the third team in NHL history to win their first five OT games in a postseason, joining the 2003 Anaheim Ducks and 2011 San Jose Sharks.
Florida also extended their road winning streak to seven games, tied second longest in playoff history (with six other teams), only behind the 2012 Los Angeles Kings, who won 10 straight.
The Panthers could’ve won earlier if Ryan Lomberg’s goal in the first overtime wasn’t called back due to goaltenders interference. But it was, and the teams played on, practically delivering another game and a period of playoff hockey to the fans.