The Florida Panthers and Carolina Panthers played the sixth longest game in NHL history from Thursday night to Friday morning, totaling just under 140 minutes of play.
The game ended minutes before 2 a.m. on the East Coast when Matthew Tkachuk scored the game-winner with 12.7 seconds remaining in quadruple overtime.
Given the time the game ended, the Panthers created an excuse note that fans could use to get off work or school on Friday.
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«To whom it may concern, sorry for the delay of _______ to ________ on May 19, 2023,» the form letter read. «As you probably know, our Game 1 in the Eastern Conference final against the Carolina Hurricanes had four (4) overtime periods, and they had to stay up late to support the Cats.
_________’s support is essential to the team and we appreciate your understanding.»
It was the longest game in the NHL since the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets played a five-overtime marathon on Aug. 11, 2020, in Toronto.
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Florida found the back of the net in the first overtime, but it was returned due to goaltender interference.
The game lasted so long that even Tkachuk didn’t feel like celebrating. After scoring the game-winning goal, he pointed directly toward the tunnel in the arena, instructing his team to come off the ice and into the locker room to celebrate.
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Game 2 is Saturday night at Carolina before the series heads south on Monday.