Florida Panthers right winger Matthew Tkachuk of Scottsdale, Arizona scored the overtime winner on Saturday in game two the Eastern Conference Finals. He scored from Sam Reinhart of West Vancouver, British Columbia and Sam Bennett of Holland Landing, Ontario at 1:51 of the extra period on the power-play in a 2-1 Florida win. Hurricanes center Jesperi Kotkaniemi of Pori, Finland had taken a hooking penalty just 12 seconds before Tkachuk scored the game-winner. The Kotkaniemi hook came on Panthers defenseman Josh Mahura of St. Albert, Alberta.
Third Overtime Winner of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Tkachuk only has three Stanley Cup Playoff overtime winners in his career, and they have all come in the 2023 postseason. He scored the game winner on April 26 in game five of the first round, a 4-3 Panthers win over the Boston Bruins from Toronto Dominion Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. At the time, the Panthers stayed alive but still trailed the beat out of seven series three games to two. Carter Verhaeghe of Toronto, Ontario had the lone assist.
Then on Thursday, Tkachuk scored the overtime winner in the sixth longest game in National Hockey League history. He once again scored from Bennett in a 3-2 Panthers win over the Hurricanes with 12.7 seconds left in the fourth overtime period.
Tkachuk Making Hockey History
Tkachuk tied the National Hockey League record for most overtime winners in a single playoff season. The other three players on the list are Boston Bruins right winger Mel Hill of Argyle, Manitoba, Montreal Canadiens right winger Maurice Richard of Montreal, Quebec, and Anaheim Ducks left winger Corey Perry of New Liskeard, Ontario. Hill accomplished the feat in 1939, Richard in 1951 and Perry in 2017. According to Rogers Sportsnet, Hill, Tkachuk and Richard accomplished the feat in the first two games of a playoff series.
Hill had three overtime winners in a year the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. The Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to one in the 1939 Stanley Cup Finals. All three of Hill’s overtime winners came in the 1939 Stanley Cup semifinal series. The Bruins beat the New York Rangers four games to three. Two of Hill’s overtime winners cam in triple overtime.