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The Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes opened the Eastern Conference Finals with a classic that went to quadruple overtime.
Panthers star and Hart Trophy-nominee Matthew Tkachuk scored with just seconds left in the 4th overtime to give the Cats a 3-2 win to open the series.
After the game, he revealed that he and his teammates got through the marathon series opener — which amounted to more than two full games and was the sixth-longest game in NHL history — with a lockerroom menu that sounds like it would be the choice of a group of middle schoolers trying to pull an all-nighter.
We’re talking Red Bull and pizza.
“I’m excited to get out of here. I’m excited to catch that 2:35 bus back to the hotel and get some sleep,” Tkachuk said after the game. “Get some food and everything in us. I mean, there’s guys cracking Red Bulls before the 4th overtime, there’s pizza flowing. It was actually pretty funny seeing it.”
Pizza And Marathon NHL Games Have A History
Considering how seriously most NHLers take nutrition these days (Phil “The Thrill” Kessel notwithstanding) would be an odd sight to see dudes crushing pizza and washing it down with some Red Bulls.
It’s not the first time players were crushing slices of pizza during a ruling multi-OT playoff game. When the Flyers and Penguins played 5 OTs on May 4, 2000 — the longest game in the NHL’s modern era — they turned once again to some pizzas for fuel.
“I remember we had some pizza ordered. It was strange, never seen anything like that before. The whole locker room smelled like a pizza,” Penguins D-man Michael Rozsival told NHL.com. “We had pizza and some power bars, and tried to do all we could to keep it going and get some energy.”
As for the Flyers — who won the game 2-1 thanks to a game-winner from center Keith Primeau — they exhausted their pie supply. They then had to send staff members up to concession stands.
The Panthers and Hurricanes will need to get some shut-eye because they’ll be back at it for Game 2 on Saturday.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle