Epic OT game ended so late that fans were literally falling asleep

May 19 2023, 1:49 pm

Game 1 between the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers on Thursday was a snoozer — not because it was boring, but because it went on until nearly 2 am.

After the Hurricanes tied the game up late in the third period in front of their home crowd, overtime became necessary. When no winner was decided after an additional 20 minutes, the teams geared up for a second OT, a third, and a fourth…

By the time the Florida Panthers ended the madness, nearly 80 minutes of overtime were played, making it the sixth-longest game in NHL history.

Despite many having to work the following day, fans at PNC Arena stuck around. Unfortunately, some could not keep their eyes open, falling asleep in the stands.

Many did whatever they could to keep their energy levels up.

It was clear that things were getting out of hand, though, when the Hurricanes’ PA announcer apologized for another overtime period coming to an end. “And that completes the third overtime,” echoed through the arena and on the broadcast. “I’m so sorry.”

Even Sportsnet’s Twitter admin was letting the fatigue show with a cheeky meme or two.

Then, in the dying seconds of the fourth overtime period, Florida forward Matthew Tkachuk saved everyone from another intermission by popping one past Carolina goalie Frederik Anderson, who finished the game with 57 saves.

Instead of celebrating on the ice, though, Tkachuk, likely eager to get some shut-eye, skated back to the visitors’ dressing room as fast as he could.

In the post-game interview, Tkachuk commented on the ridiculous length of the game. The Panthers forward explained that energy drinks and carbs were being consumed between periods to maintain energy levels. “There’s guys cracking Red Bulls before the fourth overtime; there’s pizza flowing. It was actually pretty funny seeing it.”

“I’m excited to get out of here,” Tkachuk added. “I’m excited to catch that 2:35 bus back to the hotel and get some sleep and get some food and everything.”

Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday at 8 pm ET. Perhaps organizers should’ve opted for an earlier start time…

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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