Wednesday, May 29, 2024

NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes (0-2) at Florida Panthers (2-0)


The Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders in six games, with a 2-1 record at home and on the road. Sebastian Aho (4-3—7) and Brent Burns (0-5—5) led the team in scoring, while Paul Stastny scored three goals in the series, including his third career playoff overtime goal to clinch the series in Game 6. Carolina went 5-for-25 (20.0%) on the power play, as Stefan Noesen paced the team with two goals on the man-advantage, and the team’s league-leading 94.4% penalty kill rate (17-for-18) established a new franchise record for a single playoff series. Antti Raanta (3-2) and Frederik Andersen (1-0) each made appearances in net, as Andersen made his Hurricanes playoff debut in Game 6 and recorded his first series-clinching win since 2015.

Carolina defeated the New Jersey Devils in five games, with a 3-0 record at home and a 1-1 record on the road. Jordan Martinook tallied a team-high 10 points (3g, 7a), tying the franchise record for points in a playoff series and becoming the second player in NHL history to post double-digit points in a series after being held off the scoresheet in his team’s previous round that postseason. Jesper Fast (3-3— 6), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3-2—5) and Martin Necas (3-0—3) matched Martinook for the team lead in goals, as Fast scored the Hurricanes’ second overtime, series-clinching goal of this postseason. Frederik Andersen made all five starts in net, earning a 4-0 record, 2.01 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

The Hurricanes suffered a 3-2 loss against the Panthers in quadruple overtime at PNC Arena on Thursday, losing a playoff overtime game for the first time since 2021 in the longest contest in franchise history (139:47). Frederik Andersen set a franchise playoff record with a career-high 57 saves on 60 shots, and 17 of Carolina’s 19 players set new career highs for ice time. Seth Jarvis and Stefan Noesen each scored on the power play, and Jarvis tallied an assist on Noesen’s goal for his fifth career postseason multi-point outing.

Carolina again fell to Florida in overtime, 2-1, at PNC Arena on Saturday. Jalen Chatfield scored the team’s only goal with assists from Sebastian Aho and Stefan Noesen, and Antti Raanta made his first start since Game 5 of the First Round, stopping 24 of 26 shots faced in defeat.

Jake Gardiner, upper-body, missed 95 games (10/12-5/20)
Ondrej Kase, concussion, missed 94 games (10/14-5/20)
Max Pacioretty, torn Achilles, missed 50 games (1/21-5/20)
Andrei Svechnikov, torn ACL, missed 31 games (3/12-5/20)
2022-23 Regular-Season Man-Games Lost Due to Injury: 334
2023 Playoffs Man-Game Lost Due to Injury: 69

May 22 at Florida 8 p.m. TNT/SN/CBC/TVAS Sports USA/HRN
May 24 at Florida 8 p.m. TNT/SN/CBC/TVAS Sports USA/HRN
May 26 (if nec.) Florida 8 p.m. TNT/SN/CBC/TVAS Sports USA/HRN
May 28 (if nec.) at Florida 8 p.m. TNT/SN/CBC/TVAS Sports USA/HRN

  • All times are Eastern | BSSO = Bally Sports South | HRN = Hurricanes Radio Network

May 22 Monday FLA Live Arena 11:30 a.m.
May 23 Tuesday FLA Live Arena 1:15 p.m.
May 24 Wednesday FLA Live Arena 11:30 a.m.
May 25 Thursday PNC Arena 12 p.m.
May 26 Friday PNC Arena 10:30 a.m.

  • All times are local. Times and locations are subject to change.

— Carolina is facing Florida in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, marking the 15th different opponent to face the Whalers/Hurricanes in the postseason.

— The Hurricanes and Panthers have met 138 times in their regular-season histories. Carolina holds a 71-46-11-10 overall record, including a 44-17-3-5 home record and a 27-29-8-5 road record.

— The two teams have also previously spent 15 seasons as divisional foes (Southeast Division, 1998-13; Central Division, 2020-21), with Carolina earning a 50-25-9-7 record against Florida during those campaigns (Florida: 32-37-9-13).

— The Hurricanes won the regular-season series 2-1-0 in 2022-23 (Panthers: 1-2-0).

— Carolina suffered a 3-0 loss against Florida at FLA Live Arena on 11/9. Antti Raanta stopped 34 of 36 shots faced in net.

— The Hurricanes posted a 4-0 win over the Panthers at PNC Arena on 12/30. Brent Burns (2a), Seth Jarvis (2a) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (1g, 1a) recorded two points, while Antti Raanta stopped all 19 shots faced in net for his second shutout of the season.

— Carolina clinched a second straight Metropolitan Division title with a 6-4 win over Florida at FLA Live Arena on 4/13. Sebastian Aho (1g, 1a), Brent Burns (2g), Shayne Gostisbehere (1g, 1a) and Seth Jarvis (2a) all registered two points, while Frederik Andersen made 30 saves in net.

— Shayne Gostisbehere is a native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and ranks first all-time in points among all NHL players born in Florida. He attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland for two years (2007-09) before transferring to South Kent Prep in

— Hurricanes Assistant Coach Jeff Daniels played 10 games with Florida from 1994-95.

— Panthers Assistant GM Paul Krepelka served as the Hurricanes’ Vice President of Hockey Operations for two seasons from 2018-20.

— Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice served in the same capacity with Hartford/Carolina over two stints from 1995-03 and 2008-11. Maurice earned a 384-391-99-46 regular-season record and holds the franchise records for games coached and wins in the regular season. He also added a 25-28 record in the playoffs, leading the Hurricanes to two Conference Finals (2002, 2009) and one Stanley Cup Final (2002).

— Panthers Assistant Coach Tuomo Ruutu registered 216 points (90g, 126a) in 378 games with the Hurricanes from 2008-14. He was acquired from Chicago in exchange for Andrew Ladd on 2/26/08 and traded to New Jersey in exchange for Andrei Loktionov on 3/5/14.

— Zac Dalpe was selected by Carolina in the second round (45th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft and recorded 10 points (5g, 5a) in 41 NHL games with the Hurricanes from 2010-13. He also played parts of four AHL seasons with Albany/Charlotte from 2010-13, earning 139 points (68g, 71a) in 180 games. Dalpe was traded to Vancouver along with Jeremy Welsh in exchange for Kellan Tochkin and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft (Josh Wesley).

— Gustav Forsling was acquired from Chicago along with Anton Forsberg in exchange for Calvin de Haan and Aleksi Saarela, and he tallied 26 points (8g, 18a) in 57 AHL games with Charlotte in 2019-20. Forsling was claimed on waivers by Florida on 1/9/21.

— Eetu Luostarinen was drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft and recorded one assist in eight games with Carolina in 2019-20. He was traded to Florida on 2/24/20 along with Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and Chase Priskie in exchange for Vincent Trocheck.

— Alex Lyon played in the Hurricanes’ organization in 2021-22. He spent most of the season with Chicago (AHL), posting an 18-7-3 record, 2.16 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and three shutouts in 30 regular-season games before going 9-3-0 with two shutouts in the playoffs to help lead the Wolves to a Calder Cup championship. Lyon also made two appearances with Carolina, earning a 1-0-1 record, 2.93 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

— Two of Jordan Staal’s brothers, Eric and Marc, play for Florida. Eric previously spent parts of 12 seasons with Carolina (2003-16), helping the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup in 2006 and captaining the team from 2009-16. He registered 775 points (322g, 453a) in 909 games with Carolina and ranks first in team history (since relocation) in games played, goals, assists, points, power-play goals (105), power-play points (252) and game-winning goals (47). Jordan’s third brother, Jared, also serves as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Checkers, Florida’s AHL affiliate.

Carolina is down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series for the 10th time in franchise history, having won two of the previous nine such series (2006 ECQF vs. MTL: 4-2, 2019 ECFR vs. WSH: 4-3). The Hurricanes are 1-1 in series after losing the first two games on home ice, as they won the next four games to defeat the Canadiens en route to their first Stanley Cup. Hartford/Carolina has posted a 10-20 record in the third game of a best-of-seven series (5-10 on the road), with a 4-5 record after losing the first two games. The Whalers/ Hurricanes cut the series deficit to 2-1 with Game 3 wins in the 1992 Adams Division Semifinal vs. MTL, 2006 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at MTL, 2019 Eastern Conference First Round vs. WSH and 2021 Central Division Second Round at TBL. In that win over the Lightning in 2021, Sebastian Aho factored on all three of Carolina’s goals (1g, 2a), including Jordan Staal’s overtime winner.

The Hurricanes are hitting the road for Game 3 against the Panthers, and they have posted a 3-2 record away from home during this postseason, with wins in three of their last four road games (4/23-5/9). Carolina is seeking to win four road contests in a single postseason for the fourth time in franchise history (2002: 7-5, 2006: 6-5, 2009: 4-6). Sebastian Aho (3g, 2a) and Jordan Martinook (2g, 3a) have registered a team-high five points on the road during these playoffs, while Aho, Seth Jarvis (3g, 1a) and Martin Necas (3g) rank tied for the team lead in road goals. Aho paced all Hurricanes skaters with 41 points (21g, 20a) in 38 contests away from home during the regular season, and he holds the franchise playoff records for road playoff goals (12) and points (26).



  • F Patric Hornqvist | Games Missed: 14
    Total Playoff Man Games Lost Due to Injury: 25
    Total Regular Season Man Games Lost Due to Injury: 239

Panthers 2, Hurricanes 1 [OT] – May 20 – PNC Arena
FLA Goals: Barkov (4), Tkachuk (7-OTPPG)
CAR Goals: Chatfield (1)
FLA Goalie: Bobrovsky (W) – 37 Saves
CAR Goalie: Raanta (L) – 24 Saves
FLA Shots: 38
CAR Shots: 26
Notes: Matthew Tkachuk scored in overtime for the second consecutive game, his 3rd OT winner of the 2023 playoffs…Tkachuk’s 3 OT winners are the most in one postseason run in club history and tied for the most by one player in one year in NHL history…With his goal, Tkachuk leads FLA with 7 goals and his 18 points are a new franchise postseason record, surpassing Dave Lowry’s 17 in 1996…Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 37 shots to extend his win streak to three games and road win streak to seven games…Aleksander Barkov tallied a goal for the second consecutive game, now tied for the second-most all-time postseason goals in franchise history with Ray Sheppard and Dave Lowry (10)…Sam Bennett notched an assist on a Matthew Tkachuk OT winner for the second consecutive game…Florida won their third straight game and eighth consecutive road game, the second-longest postseason road win streak in NHL history…The Cats improved to 6-0 in overtime in the 2023 playoffs and have won nine consecutive postseason OT games dating to Round 1, Game 3 at TBL in 2021…Five of FLA’s six OT wins in the 2023 playoffs have come on the road…FLA PP: 1-3, FLA PK: 3-3


  • May 8: F Mackie Samoskevich agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract

ALL-TIME vs. CAR: 56-56-11-15
ALL-TIME HOME vs. CAR: 56-56-11-15
2022-23 vs. CAR: 1-2-0

Goals: Tkachuk (7)
Assists: Tkachuk (11)
Points: Tkachuk (18)
Shots: Montour (56)
Hits: Gudas (64)

ROUND 1 – FLA (4) vs. BOS (3)
GAME 1 – FLA 1, BOS 3
GAME 2 – FLA 6, BOS 3
GAME 3 – BOS 4, FLA 2
GAME 4 – BOS 6, FLA 2
GAME 5 – FLA 4, BOS 3 [OT]
GAME 6 – BOS 5, FLA 7
GAME 7 – FLA 4, BOS 3 [OT]

ROUND 2 – FLA (4) vs. TOR (1)
GAME 1 – FLA 4, TOR 2
GAME 2 – FLA 3, TOR 2
GAME 3 – TOR 2, FLA 3 [OT]
GAME 4 – TOR 2, FLA 1
GAME 5 – FLA 3, TOR 2 [OT]

ECF – FLA (2) vs. CAR (0)
GAME 1 – FLA 3, CAR 2 [4OT]
GAME 2 – FLA 2, CAR 1 [OT]


  1. Carter Verhaeghe | 14 1. Aleksander Barkov | 23 1. Aleksander Barkov | 33
    T-2. Aleksander Barkov | 10 2. Jonathan Huberdeau | 16 2. Carter Verhaeghe | 29
    T-2. Ray Sheppard | 10 3. Carter Verhaeghe | 15 3. Jonathan Huberdeau | 21
    T-2. Dave Lowry | 10 4. Sam Bennett | 12


  1. Aleksander Barkov | 40 1. Sergei Bobrovsky | 15 T-1. Ray Sheppard | 4
  2. Ed Jovanovski | 34 2. John Vanbiesbrouck | 13 T-1. Dave Lowry | 4
  3. Aaron Ekblad | 33 T-3. Sam Reinhart | 3

Matthew Tkachuk scored overtime goals in both Game 1 and Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at PNC Arena, leading Florida to its third consecutive overtime win (dating to Round 2, Game 5 at TOR). Each of Florida’s past four wins have come in overtime, and six of their 10 playoff wins in 2023 have come in sudden death. The Panthers are 6-0 in the extra frame in the 2023 postseason, becoming the second team in NHL history to win each of their first six games that required overtime in a single postseason, joining the 2003 Ducks (7 GP). The Panthers are also 9-0 in overtime contests dating to Round 1, Game 3 in 2021 at TBL, the second-longest multi-season OT win streak in NHL history behind only MTL from 1993-1998. Tkachuk’s three OT winners in the 2023 postseason are the most in one postseason run in club history, tied with Carter Verhaeghe for most in franchise history all time, and are tied for the most in one playoff year in NHL history with Corey Perry (3 in 2017), Maurice Richard (3 in 1951) and Mel Hill (3 in 1939). Five of Florida’s OT wins this postseason have come on the road. Per NHL stats, the only teams in NHL history with as many victories are the 1993 Canadiens (6) and 1980 Islanders (5). Tkachuk has factored on four OT goals (3-1-4) in the 2023 postseason, tied with Jarome Iginla (4 in 2004 w/ CGY), Adam Oates (4 in 2003 w/ ANA) and Ray Ferraro (4 in 1993 w/ NYI) for the most in one run in NHL history. Sergei Bobrovsky has been in nine for all nine of Florida’s prior OT wins.

The Panthers return to FLA Live Arena tonight for South Florida’s first Eastern Conference Final matchup since Game 6 against PIT of the 1996 playoffs. In that game, Rob Niedermayer scored at 13:58 of the third period at Miami Arena to break a 3-3 tie to force a seventh game in Pittsburgh, which the Cats would go on to win 3-1 to send the club to its first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Florida has won two of its past three games at FLA Live Arena, scoring 11 goals over that span. Matthew Tkachuk leads Florida skaters with six points (3-3-6) over the Panthers five home playoff games in 2023, while Sam Reinhart has scored a team-high four goals (4-0-4) at home. Brandon Montour paces Cats blueliners with four home points (1-3-4) in the playoffs.

Florida face off against Carolina in the postseason for the first time. The two clubs share several connections, notably:

  • The series will be the first to feature three brothers (Eric, Marc and Jordan Staal) since Brent Sutter (CHI) defeated Rich & Ron Sutter (STL) in the 1992 Norris Division Semifinals. Jared Staal serves as an assistant coach for Florida’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
  • Eric Staal, a first-round selection (2nd overall) by Carolina in the 2003 NHL Draft, led the Canes to the club’s first Stanley Cup in 2005-06, posting a team-high (and franchise record) 28 playoff points (9-19-28) during their run. The team was captained by current Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour. Eric would go on to serve as the Hurricanes captain from 2009-10 to 2015-16.
  • Florida Head Coach Paul Maurice served as bench boss for the Hurricanes franchise for 13 total seasons (1995-96 to 2003- 04, 2008-09 to 2011-12), including their first year in Raleigh after moving from Hartford prior to the 1997-98 season. Maurice coached the franchise to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final and 2009 Eastern Conference Final.
  • Florida Assistant Coach Tuomo Ruutu skated in 378 games with Carolina from 2007-08 to 2013-14, amassing 216 points (90-126-216).
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