Follow me on Twitter: @BenShelley_20
Follow HockeyBuzz Hurricanes on Twitter: @HB_Canes
The Carolina Hurricanes came up short in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, falling 3-2 in quadruple overtime to the Florida Panthers last night.
It marks the sixth-longest game in NHL history.
The Panthers had the better chances early in the first period, but some penalty trouble in the back half of the frame swung momentum. Carolina nearly took a lead on their first power play opportunity, but Sergei Bobrovsky slid over to make a huge pad save, and Sebastian Aho ended up putting the puck off a post on a 2-on-1 later, as the game stayed scoreless. But with Florida continuing to take penalties, at the tail end of a long 5-on-3 late in the period, Seth Jarvis wired a one-timer past Bobrovsky to open the scoring before the end of the frame.
We saw a much slower second period afterwards, with only 13 shots exchanged. While Carolina got into a bit of penalty trouble of their own, two successful kills later meant it looked like they’d be able to hang onto their lead into the second intermission.
However, late in the period, Aleksander Barkov took a pass on a rush and beat Andersen with a good shot, tying the game. Then only about two minutes later, Carter Verhaeghe came off the wall and fired a shot past Andersen, putting Florida ahead through 40 minutes.
Carolina did tie the game back up on a power play early in the third period though, as Stefan Noesen finished off an excellent passing play from Martin Necas and Seth Jarvis. Carolina held Florida to basically no offense in the third period, outshooting the Panthers 14-2, but couldn’t convert on some great chances (including a Martin Necas breakaway in back half of frame), keeping the score at 2-2.
Then came overtime.
It looked like the game was over pretty quick into the extra frame. Jack Drury gave the puck up in his own end and after it stayed in the zone, Ryan Lomberg ended up capitalizing on Andersen oversliding, putting the puck into the open net. However, after a review, it was determined there was goalie interference from Colin White, and the game kept going.
Florida almost ended the game right after the goal was called off with a flurry in front, resulting in a Panthers power play, but they couldn’t convert and things slowed down a bit after that. Carolina did have a great chance on a power play of their own later, with Jarvis hitting a crossbar, but nothing was solved through the first overtime frame.
I don’t have a maximum word count on these articles but can’t bring myself to detail out three more periods of scoreless hockey, so for a summary of overtime overall:
Florida was the better team through a lot of overtime after that. How on earth the game got as far as it did with some of the chances exchanged is hard to believe. What a goaltending battle.
You’d think there were limited opportunities as the game went on, and while it was certainly dull at times, there were still some great chances exchanged. With players just completely gassed, there were tons of broken plays and we saw some huge saves from both sides.
But just as it looked like the game was destined for a fifth overtime period, Matthew Tkachuk wired a shot past Andersen with 12 seconds left in the fourth overtime period, giving Florida the Game 1 win.
I think it’s hard to criticize a team too much once you get to more than a second full game of hockey played in a night. Carolina had their chances and were the better team through regulation.
That said, the Hurricanes may have got lucky on that goal being called back to begin with. White was in the crease and made contact, but to me, it’s a tough argument that his contact had a major impact on Andersen not being able to get into position for the shot.
Obviously, losing Game 1 with it being the marathon that it was, it’s a tough loss to open the series. It’s also new territory for the Hurricanes this postseason, after pulling ahead 2-0 in each of their two prior series wins. With the way Carolina played before the point it became clear everyone was exhausted though, there’s reason for optimism.
The power play went 2-for-6, Andersen was excellent, and the Hurricanes did a good job limiting chances through regulation. Credit to the team's top-four group as well, with Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin each playing over 50 minutes in the loss, and Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce getting close to that mark as well.
It’s going to be a good, close series and Game 1 just confirmed it. That said, the Hurricanes need a Game 2 win to avoid going back to Florida in a huge hole, which would be tough to climb out of.
The teams will be back in action tomorrow for Game 2.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM MAY
Hurricanes set to face Devils in second round
Previewing the Hurricanes’ second round series against the Devils
Hurricanes shut down Devils for convincing Game 1 win
Hurricanes dominate Devils again for 6-1 win in Game 2
Hurricanes suffer blowout loss to Devils in Game 3
Hurricanes eliminate Devils, advance to Eastern Conference Final
Previewing the Eastern Conference Final: Hurricanes vs. Panthers