NHL playoffs: Hurricanes vs. Panthers scores,

The Eastern Conference Final continued on Saturday night, and the Florida Panthers took a commanding 2-0 series lead thanks to an overtime game-winner from Matthew Tkachuk. The Panthers won in overtime for a second consecutive game, this time by a score of 2-1, to head back to Florida with all the momentum. 

After winning the Metro Division, the Hurricanes dispatched the New York Islanders in the first round. Going up against a high-powered New Jersey Devils team in the second round, Carolina’s excellent team defense and depth scoring took over. The Canes eliminated the Devils in just five games, outscoring them by a total of 24-13.

The Panthers barely made the playoffs this season, but they quickly made their presence known. Florida overcame a 3-1 deficit against the heavily favored Boston Bruins to win the series in seven games. Once they got past the Bruins, the Panthers extinguished Stanley Cup hopes in Toronto by defeating the Maple Leafs in five games in their second-round matchup.

Tkachuk has been the unquestioned leader of the Panthers throughout their playoff run, and he has turned in some brilliant performances. Tkachuk has 16 points in 12 games, and neither the Bruins nor the Maple Leafs found a way to contain him. If Florida is going to get past a deep Carolina team, the supporting cast must continue to chip in alongside Tkachuk.

Through the first two series, for Carolina, defensemen Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin have been the biggest stars. Carolina has completely dominated games with those two on the ice, earning a plus-10 goal differential. That pairing will face its biggest test of the postseason when it faces a red-hot Matthew Tkachuk in the conference finals.

Follow along with everything you need to know about the Eastern Conference Finals, including the schedule and results, below.

(*if necessary)

Game 1: Panthers 3, Hurricanes 2 (4OT)

The first game of the Eastern Conference Final was a thrilling way to start the series. The Florida Panthers pulled out a 3-2 win in quadruple overtime to take a 1-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Just a few minutes into overtime, it looked like Ryan Lomberg had won the game for Florida. He fired a shot into a wide open net, but officials ruled that Panthers forward Colin White had interfered with Frederik Andersen. After that ruling, it would be a while until the puck even sniffed the goal line.

With just 12.7 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime, Matthew Tkachuk capitalized on a Hurricanes turnover to end the sixth-longest game in NHL history. You can read a full recap of the action here.

Game 2: Panthers 2, Hurricanes 1 (OT) 

The Panthers will take a 2-0 series lead back to Florida after beating Carolina 2-1 in overtime of Game 2, with Matthew Tkachuk scoring his second game-winner in as many games. Tkachuk scored the game-winner much quicker this time around, however, doing so a mere 1:51 into the OT period after scoring in quadruple overtime on Friday. With three overtime goals this postseason, Tkachuk has now tied an NHL record. 

It was a defensive affair for the most part as both goalies played lights out. Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves while Carolina’s Antti Raanta had 24. 

Carolina opened the scoring with a Jalen Chatfield tip-in shot less than two minutes into the game, but the only other goal in regulation would come at 7:43 of the second period, when Aleksander Barkov scored a backhander to tie it up for Florida. 

The series will now shift to Florida with the Panthers, who haven’t played in a Stanley Cup Final since 1996, holding a commanding series lead. 

Game 3

  • Date: Monday, May 22 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: FLA Live Arena — Sunrise, Florida
  • TV: TNT

Game 4

  • Date: Wednesday, May 24 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: FLA Live Arena — Sunrise, Florida
  • TV: TNT

*Game 5

  • Date: Friday, May 26 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: PNC Arena — Raleigh, North Carolina
  • TV: TNT

*Game 6

  • Date: Sunday, May 28 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: FLA Live Arena — Sunrise, Florida
  • TV: TNT

*Game 7

  • Date: Tuesday, May 30 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: PNC Arena — Raleigh, North Carolina
  • TV: TNT

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