Eastern Conference Game 1 Recap: Panthers Edge Hurricanes in Quadruple Overtime Marathon
The Florida Panthers pulled off a heart-stopping victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in the sixth-longest NHL game in history. In a match that bookmakers had leaning in favor of the Hurricanes (-150), the Panthers defied the odds (+130) to earn a 1-0 series lead an inch closer to becoming the first 8th seed to win the Stanley Cup since the 2012 LA Kings.
FLA RW Matthew Tkachuk's 2nd overtime goal of the playoffs, at 19:47 of the fourth overtime, sealed the 3-2 win for the Panthers. The game went 79:47 beyond regulation time, marking the longest game ever for both the Panthers and Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers franchises.
Both goaltenders put on a tremendous display, trading save after save in a relentless back-and-forth. Florida's Sergei Bobrovsky made a single-game record for the Panthers with 63 saves, placing him tenth in any playoff game on record. Carolina's Frederik Andersen was equally resilient, setting a record for a Carolina/Hartford goalie with 57 saves..
The Panthers' success in overtime continues, as they are now 5-0 during the 2023 playoffs, with eight straight overtime wins dating back to 2021. This includes four of the five overtime wins this year on the road, contributing to a seven-game road winning streak since their first-round loss. The Panthers are now tied for the second-longest road playoff winning streak, the record being 10 games.
Despite the brutal physical and emotional toll of such a prolonged game, both teams were lauded for maintaining a high level of play, even as legs grew heavy and pressure mounted. Florida defenseman Radko Gudas said, “We put the working boots back on, just grind them down and just keep going." His tenacity epitomized the Panthers' attitude.
The game concluded around 2 a.m EST., with Tkachuk emerging as the Panthers' hero. In a postgame interview, Tkachuk said, "I hope you guys and everybody else enjoyed that game,” underscoring the historical significance of the night's contest.
The Panthers now hold the advantage as they look forward to Game 2. With an extended break, both teams will have a chance to recuperate from the physically exhausting first game, but the mental impact of such a dramatic loss for the Hurricanes remains to be seen.
Bookmakers have again made the Carolina Hurricanes -150 home favorites in Game 2. The Hurricanes are 5-2 at home these playoffs, while the Florida Panthers are 7-1 on the road, looking to extend their road winning streak to eight games.
Other Notable Stats from the Game
Tkachuk's 17 points in 13 games ties the record for the most by a Panther in a single playoff year.
Brandon Montour skated for 57:56, the highest single-game total by a Florida player and the ninth-highest all-time
Five players skated at least 50 minutes in Game 1, including Panthers Aaron Ekblad, Bradon Montour, & Gustav Furling, along with Hurricanes & Jacob Slavin.
Western Conference Finals Game 1 Preview: Vegas Golden Knights vs Dallas Stars
The 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs continue to sizzle Friday as we approach the Western Conference Finals Game 1. This year, the Vegas Golden Knights are set to square off against the Dallas Stars in a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Finals.
In that fateful 2020 series, the Stars edged out the Golden Knights in five games, riding a Game 1 victory to a series triumph. Adding a personal touch to this year's matchup, the Stars' current head coach, Peter DeBoer, previously led the Golden Knights during that 2020 encounter. Since his departure from Vegas, he has emerged victorious in all three encounters against his former team, including both games he has coached the Stars back at T-Mobile Arena.
The Road Here
This year, both teams have demonstrated their resilience and ability to step up in big moments. The Golden Knights, led by their strong offensive force and versatile defense, triumphed over the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers to secure their place in the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in six seasons. However, they will need to bolster their special teams' performance, with a playoff power-play efficiency of just 18 percent and a concerning penalty kill rate of 60 percent, the worst of the remaining teams.
The Stars, meanwhile, found their path to the conference finals by overcoming the Minnesota Wild and the Seattle Kraken. Despite facing some of the best regular-season teams, Dallas has proven they can score against anyone. This offensive prowess, combined with the strong goaltending from Jake Oettinger, poses a significant threat to the Golden Knights. However, despite Jason Robertson averaging a point per game in the playoffs, the Stars will be looking for more from him as he has faced questions over his goal-scoring performance.
Key to Vegas' chances will be their top forwards who have been exceptional thus far. Players like Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson, Jonathan Marchessault, Ivan Barbashev, and William Karlsson have combined for 31 goals in just 11 games. However, their penalty kill unit needs to improve, particularly against a Dallas power-play unit that boasts a 31.7% success rate this postseason.
For Dallas, the spotlight will be on Roope Hintz, who is only a point away from being the postseason scoring leader. He, along with defenseman Miro Heiskanen and players like Max Domi and Evgenii Dadonov, will look to break through Vegas' defense. The availability of Jini Hakanpaa, despite recent issues, could be a significant boost for Dallas.
Game 1 Betting Odds & Props
The Vegas Golden Knights are slight favorites, with betting odds at -130. However, it is worth noting that prices vary across different markets. Nevada-based shops have VGK priced higher due to the local population’s support for their team, while New Jersey and offshore occupations offer more favorable odds for VGK, as low as -120 to -116. The Dallas Stars are the underdogs, priced from +105 to +115.
Puck line bets are also an attractive option, with Vegas Golden Knights holding a -1.5 spread at odds ranging from +180 to +215 depending on the sportsbook. On the other side, Dallas Stars have a +1.5 spread with odds from -227 to -270.
The game also offers an over/under set at 5.5, providing another wagering avenue for bettors interested in total goals betting.
Looking beyond the single-game bets, DraftKings has priced the Golden Knights as favorites to win the series at -135, while the Stars stand at +115.
Prop Bets for Game 1 and the Series Alongside the conventional moneyline, puck line, and total bets, prop bets also offer an interesting alternative, spanning both Game 1 and the entire series.
Player prop bets include wagering on who will score a goal in the opening game. Currently, DraftKings odds list Jason Robertson and Jack Eichel, both at +150, as the most likely to find the back of the net. Other potential goal-scorers include Joe Pavelski (+200), Tyler Seguin (+265), Brett Howden (+350), and Mason Marchment (+380).
The exact score of the game is another high-risk, high-reward prop bet. For example, a bet on the Stars winning 3-2 is priced at +1000 odds, while a Golden Knights 3-1 victory is at +2500.
Series-long prop bets present an engaging way to follow the entire series, with betting options such as who will score the most goals in the series. The favorites for this bet are Jack Eichel (+550) and Roope Hintz (+650), with Joe Pavelski (+700) and Max Domi (+3500) rounding out the list.