Tkachuk scores another OT winner, lifting Panthers to 2-0 series lead vs Hurricanes
Canes drop second straight overtime home game
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk finished off a second straight overtime win — this time needing only a few minutes instead of four extra periods — then pointed again toward the door along the boards that led to the locker room.
He skated over as Florida Panthers teammates joined him, then motioned to lead them off the ice.
It was time to celebrate the latest big moment in a growing list of them this postseason for a team that needed a late push just to make the playoffs, but now stands just two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final.
Tkachuk finished a feed from Sam Reinhart at the 1:51 mark of overtime to help the Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Saturday night, taking a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference final.
It marked an eighth straight road win in these playoffs and helped Florida improve to 6-0 in overtime in the postseason.
It marked Tkachuk’s third overtime winner in the playoffs, which includes a Game 5 road win in the Boston upset.
Aleksander Barkov added a highlight-reel goal for Florida in the second period, while Sergei Bobrovsky again befuddled Carolina with 37 stops.
Jalen Chatfield scored Carolina’s lone goal on a deflection in the opening minutes, while Raanta finished with 24 saves.
Carolina is in the Eastern Conference final for the second time during a five-year playoff run, but the Hurricanes have now lost 10 straight games in this round going back to 2009.
“We’ve been through this,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s not new to us. We’ve been kicked in the teeth a lot these last few years and we’ve always responded, so I’m pretty sure we will the next game.”
They’re running out of time to recover. Florida has home-ice advantage for the next two games, starting Monday with Game 3.
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