The Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers played the sixth longest game in NHL history on Thursday night, with Matthew Tkachuk mercifully ending the contest on a rocket to the top corner with 12.7 seconds left in the fourth overtime period.
The game lasted over five hours, beginning just past 8 p.m. ET on Thursday and ending just before 2 a.m. ET on Friday, an elapsed game time of 139 minutes and 47 seconds.
Regardless of how the game was won, all that matters for both teams is that the Cats are up 1-0 on the Canes in the 2023 Eastern Conference Final, with a chance to take a commanding 2-0 lead at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Saturday night.
But in typical social media fashion, the unorthodox finish led to some hilarious reactions from across NHL Twitter:
The Florida Panthers' Cinderella season just keeps on giving, as they take Game 1 of the East Finals against the Hurricanes near the end of 4TH OVERTIME😵💫
✅Panthers ML +120
✅Matt Tkachuk 1 Goal (O 0.5, +152)
✅6th Longest Game in NHL History 😱pic.twitter.com/MapgShfrjc
— ClutchPoints Betting (@CPBetting) May 19, 2023
*Tkachuk finally scores in 4OT to win the game:*
him immediately after: pic.twitter.com/ySAQjbCNqE
— e – ryan 🛸 (@OTCellyy) May 19, 2023
"Look at Tkachuk, it looks like he's trying to catch an Uber." 😂@FlaPanthers | #TimeToHunt pic.twitter.com/OL1HAzpIOw
— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) May 19, 2023
matthew tkachuk scoring the game winner at 2 am pic.twitter.com/9YFkfza6kQ
— emily 🍄✨ (@johnmarinoh) May 19, 2023
4OT hockey is fuelled by pizza and redbull according to Matthew Tkachuk 😂👏 pic.twitter.com/VhRoKHuOrR
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) May 19, 2023
THANK YOU MATTHEW TKACHUK
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 19, 2023
matthew tkachuk today/tomorrow after scoring and pointing at the exit immediately pic.twitter.com/wiZYCciLUk
— ornery (@flyers8goalies) May 19, 2023
I was so excited for five overtimes, but then Matthew Tkachuk spoiled it for us. What a buzzkill.
— Schlasser (@UrinatingTree) May 19, 2023
when this game started matthew tkachuk still looked like this pic.twitter.com/Cwju8zobXO
— ☻︎ goose (@keyshuii) May 19, 2023
Matthew Tkachuk telling the Panthers it’s time for BED at 2am like a suburban mom at a slumber party is giving me LIFE
— probably buried in trash (@puckopossum) May 19, 2023
NHL Twitter never disappoints.
Both teams will now be in full recovery mode, and they begin to prepare for Game 2 after playing a full two games worth of hockey on Thursday night.
“You’ve got to tip your cap to both teams how they played…Fourth overtime, guys are diving, blocking shots, diving to get pucks out,” Tkachuk said afterwards.
“I don’t know how many blocked shots there were on both sides. But both teams are very dialed in and playing smart but hard and very for the team. Both teams are very team first and you can easily tell that.”
It was a game that both teams desperately didn’t want to lose, but it was Conn Smythe favorite Tkachuk who silenced the crowd at PNC home and sent them home devastated after over five hours.
Game 2 between the Panthers and Hurricanes is set for Saturday night in Raleigh, and if you ask both teams, they’ll probably just be hoping that it doesn’t go past regulation.