Whether it’s in overtime or on the road — or both — the Florida Panthers aren’t missing a beat.
Matthew Tkachuk scored his second game-winning overtime goal in as many games as the Panthers won 2-1 on his power-play conversion 1:51 into the extra session in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
“I don’t think it matters whether we’re at home or on the road,” Panthers center Sam Bennett said. “We’re a confident group wherever we are.”
Florida won its eighth consecutive road game to go up 2-0 in the series.
Aleksander Barkov scored the first goal for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves after a franchise-record 63 stops in the series opener.
“Every game he has been our backbone,” Barkov said of the goalie. “He’s there for us. He’s making big saves.”
Jalen Chatfield had Carolina’s goal during the team’s impressive first period. Goalie Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots.
Game 3 is Monday night at Sunrise, Fla.
The Panthers went on an overtime power play after Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s hooking penalty. Sam Reinhart’s pass set up Tkachuk for his seventh goal of the postseason.
Florida is 6-0 in overtime games this postseason.
This puts Carolina in a vastly different situation after going 2-0 at home to begin its previous two series.
“These are the tough losses,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You’re right there and you know you maybe should have had it.”
Both sides showed stretches of full-throttle energy just two nights after a four-overtime epic that became the sixth-longest game in NHL history. Florida won 3-2 in that one.
“We were ready to go the distance if we had to again,” Bennett said. “But, fortunately, it ended early.”
The Hurricanes switched goalies, using Raanta instead of Frederik Andersen in part because of the extended workload from Game 1. It was Raanta’s first game action since April 25.
“We’ve got two guys we can throw in there,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s certainly not our issue.”
Carolina put 20 shots on goal in the first period, but only 16 in the next two periods combined.
“We knew he was going to stay in there to make all the saves to keep us in there,” Tkachuk said of Bobrovsky.
For two teams that went more than four full periods without a goal in Game 1, the scoring came rapidly early in the second game. Still, there were more goals overturned (2) than counted (1) in the first period.
Chatfield chipped in Sebastian Aho’s pass 1:43 into the game for his first postseason goal.
Just 61 seconds later, the Panthers appeared to have a tying goal, but a coach’s challenge resulted in a review and it was determined Florida was offsides.
About a minute later, the Panthers went on a power play, but Carolina turned that into a 6-0 edge in shots during that two-minute stretch.
That was part of what became a domination for the Hurricanes, who built a 17-1 advantage in shots across the opening 11 1/2 minutes.
“You need to capitalize when it’s going your way,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s what we haven’t been able to do in these two games.”
Then a potential 2-0 lead for Carolina was nixed when the Hurricanes had a Jack Drury goal waved off on review, also for offsides.
The Hurricanes didn’t produce a shot in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the second period, including a stretch that included a power play. Barkov then made a patient move in front of the net for the tying goal for Florida for his fourth tally of the postseason.
“It was whatever I practice,” Barkov said of the slick maneuver. “I practice those.”
–Field Level Media
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