Recap: Tkachuk does it again as Panthers nip Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime
Game 1 hero Matthew Tkachuk did it again, scoring a power-play goal 1:51 into the fourth period to give the Florida Panthers a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh.
Tkachuk's winner came 12 seconds after Josh Mahura's hunt for a rebound drew a hooking call on Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
Aleksander Barkov won the ensuing offensive zone faceoff and the hungry Cats worked the puck from left to right before Tkachuk slammed the puck home after a gorgeous passing play involving the Sams, Reinhart and Bennett, for his third overtime goal of this magical postseason run.
The Panthers had to weather a Category 5-sized storm for much of the first period, getting to the intermission down only a goal on the back of Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 19 of 20 shots in the largely one-sided frame.
Carolina's only goal came at the 1:43 mark when Jalen Chatfield redirected Sebastian Aho's centering pass by Bobrovsky with the second assist going to Stefan Noesen. Anton Lundell turned the puck over in the neutral zone to ignite the Hurricanes rush and Mahura was too slow in his bid to tie up Chatfield's stick. Bobrovsky didn't do himself any favors either by steering the rebound of Noesen's routine shot right to Aho.
It looked Gustav Forsling evened the score a minute later, but Bennett, who in some ways has been having a bit of a tough series (other than his two primary assists, that is), was offside.
The Hurricanes used the disallowed goal and a dreadful Florida power play - they peppered Bobrovsky with six shots while the Panthers couldn't muster up a single one on Antti Raanta - as a springboard to dominate most of the rest of the period. Luckily, Carolina also had a goal taken off the board as Radko Gudas' clear just made it over the blue line, putting Carolina offside and negating Jack Drury's marker.
Barkov would forge a 1-1 tie 7:43 into second period with an unreal finish that even had Wayne Gretzky singing its praises. Mahura held the puck in at the line and got it to Barkov, who somehow escaped the notice of the Hurricanes defenders, and he would absolutely eat Raanta for dinner with a dazzling display of his filthy mitts, faking a between-the-legs shot and then shoveling a backhander over the sprawled out keeper's glove.
Bobrovsky would simply not let Carolina score again the rest of the way. After stopping a franchise record 63 saves on Thursday he made 37 more last night. His best save came with just over six minutes left in the second, when he flat-out robbed Teuvo Teravainen with his blocker on the door step after an excellent spin and set up by Martin Necas. Jaw-dropper!
The Panthers return to Sunrise up two games and with a ton of momentum while the Metropolitan Division-winning Hurricanes are wondering what more it's going to take to get a win.
Wind & Shudders
- The Panthers are 6-0 in overtime games this postseason, winning win of them away from home. Matthew Tkachuk has three of the deciders. Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart and Nick Cousins have the others.
- Tkachuk is the second player in league history to score the overtime winner on the road in each of the first two games of a playoff series, joining Maurice "Rocket" Richard, who did it for the Montreal Canadiens against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1951 semifinals.
- Florida extended its road winning streak to eight games. The only team in Stanley Cup Playoff history with a longer run was the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 (10 games).
- Antti Raanta tagged in for Frederik Andersen and delivered a quality start with 24 saves on 26 shots. He simply had no chance on either of Florida's goals.
- Yeah, Sam Bennett couldn't stay on onside on the disallowed goal and took another penalty, but he ended up having a strong game. In addition to setting up the winner, Bennett led the Panthers with six shots, was credited with four hits, blocked a shot and went 63% in the dot.
- Jordan Staal had a monster game for the Hurricanes, finishing with a game-high seven shots and two blocks. He just couldn't get one to go by the wall that is Sergei Bobrovsky.
- For more on the weaker side of the storm that was Game 2, visit Canes Country.