RALEIGH (AP) - Matthew Tkachuk scored on a feed by Sam Reinhart in overtime at 1:51, helping the Florida Panthers defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 Saturday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final.
Tkachuk scored again less than two days later, after the Panthers won a faceoff. This time, he did it on the Panthers' power play. Sam Bennett passed the puck to Reinhart on the left, who then slid the puck to Tkachuk to finish the play against an Antti Raanta that was sprawled out.
Tkachuk immediately slid toward the locker room door, indicating to his teammates it was time to celebrate.
Tkachuk scored his third overtime goal in the playoffs. This includes a road win over Boston in Game 5 of the first round, following their record-breaking regular season. Florida has now won eight straight road playoff games, including two 2-0 road series in consecutive series. They are also 6-0 overtime winners in the post-season.
Aleksander Barkov scored a goal that will be remembered for Florida's second period. Sergei Bobrovsky, meanwhile, once again confused Carolina with his 37 saves.
Jalal Chatfield scored Carolina’s only goal in the first minutes. Raanta ended up with 24 saves.
A video review challenge was also used to overturn a goal for each team. The offsides that occurred in the area leading up to the score had not been penalized.
Florida will have home-ice for the next two matches, beginning with Monday's Game 3 at Sunrise. The Panthers have two more wins to reach the Stanley Cup Final, their first since 1996.
The Panthers won the first game of the series in epic style, defeating the Hurricanes with Tkachuk’s goal at 12.7 seconds in the fourth overtime early on Friday. This was the sixth-longest postseason game in NHL history as well as the longest game for each franchise.
Panthers coach Paul Maurice described the hours following as 'a race for recovery', with both teams incurring a "huge cost." The team did not practice on Friday or have a morning skate with the rest of the team.
Florida kept its Game 1 line-up, including Bobrovsky's 60-save performance. The Hurricanes switched goalies after Frederik Anderson's heavy workload. They started Raanta who had started the first five postseason games and was 19-3-3 in the regular season.
Bobrovsky's performance was no different from Game 1, especially against Carolina, who had a brutal start. Florida only managed one shot in the first 13 minute. He made several big saves, including when he was able to make it across the crease just in time to stop Teuvo Teravainen from attempting a backdoor after Martin Necas had fed him quickly in the second.
Carolina took advantage of the energy from the crowd to get off to a quick start. Sebastian Aho fired a loose rebound toward the crease, and Chatfield deflected it past Bobrovsky only 1:43 in.
Florida answered in the second period with Barkov's stunning goal. After Florida won the battle along the boards, he was left alone with Raanta.
Barkov began to slide the puck in between his legs. This stopped Raanta from attempting a possible flip towards the net. Barkov, however, pulled the puck forward and under his right skate at 7:43 in the second period to tie the game at 1-1.