Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals was one for the books. The Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes began playing at 8 p.m. last night, but it wasn’t until around 2 a.m. when the Panthers won what would be the sixth-longest game in National Hockey League history.
Back and forth they went, in a game that seemed to have no end. But in the final seconds of the fourth overtime — just 12.7 left — Matthew Tkachuk of the Panthers whipped the puck right past the Hurricanes’ goalie Frederik Andersen, scoring Florida a 3-2 victory.
This game had 79 minutes and 47 seconds of extra play, while the longest game ever took 116 minutes and 30 seconds. That was back in 1936, with the Detroit Red Wings beating the Montreal Maroons 1-0 in the sixth OT.
This morning’s game also marked the longest in either franchise’s history, as well as the seventh straight road game win in the playoffs for Florida, so the team is certainly on a roll.
Needless to say, there’s more history to be made as the Panthers have waited 27 years to play in the ECF again and are just a couple of wins away from their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1996.
The Panthers now lead the series 1-0, just like our Miami Heat vs. the Boston Celtics in the NBA Conference Finals. Game 2 against Carolina is scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. in Raleigh.