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Matthew Tkachuk’s goal late in fourth OT ends longest game in Panthers history, winning Game 1 over host Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. — Matthew Tkachuk beat Frederik Andersen in the final seconds of the fourth overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes early Friday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

Tkachuk took a feed from Sam Bennett after Florida won a battle for the puck as Carolina tried to clear the puck, then whipped a shot from the right circle past Andersen with 12.7 seconds left.

That sent Tkachuk racing toward center ice to celebrate with teammates in what turned into the longest game in either franchises’ history, as well as the sixth-longest game in NHL history.

Florida won its seventh straight road game in these playoffs and improved to 5-0 in overtime. Game 2 is Saturday night in Raleigh.

Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe scored in regulation for the Panthers, and Sergei Bobrovsky made a whopping career-high 63 saves in what turned into a goaltender battle as the game got more ragged as players racked up the ice time. Bobrovsky has an incredible 113 stops in the Panthers’ past two games.

Andersen finished with 57 saves for Carolina, which got power-play goals from Seth Jarvis and Stefan Noesen.

The longest game in NHL history came on March 24, 1936, when the Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 in the sixth overtime on Mud Bruneteau’s goal at 116 minutes, 30 seconds of extra play. In the only other game to go to a sixth overtime, Toronto edged Boston 1-0 on Ken Doraty’s goal at 104:46 on April 3, 1933.

Three games have been decided in a fifth overtime. Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on May 4, 2000, on Keith Primeau’s goal at 92:01. On Aug. 11, 2020 in the bubble, Brayden Point scored at 90:27 to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 victory over Columbus. On April 24, 2003, Anaheim topped Dallas 4-3 on Petr Sykora’s goal at 80:48.

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