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The Panthers Might Love Overtime Even More Than We Do

Sam Bennett #9 of the Florida Panthers celebrates his goal with teammates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Two of the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amerant Bank Arena on April 23, 2024 in Sunrise, Florida.
Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Your Favorite Website's stance on playoff overtime as the greatest single idea in all of sports is well known (it is, and shut up if you think otherwise), so the fact that we had to wait four days for the first overtime game in this cycle, and that it lasted less than three minutes, is rather a letdown. If it weren't for the Bobsave, Florida's 3-2 win would be of little consequence outside Broward County. The other games have been properly wacky, especially 'Lanche-Jets, but they have ended in the minimum amount of time, and that simply won't do.

Therefore, in this context only, the Florida Panthers are our current favorite team.

Is it too early to be bringing this up? Maybe, but nobody ever went broke anticipating a worrying development becoming a mudslide of disappointment. Few things are better in life—maybe the birth of your child, but even then half of those kids will end up as aspiring hedge fund minions, political operatives, corrupt bail bondsmen or district managers, and those who don't will have fifth grade classmates who are.

Overtimes, on the other hand, are always and objectively good. The only qualifier after that is how long they last, and 2:59 is very unserious as these things go. After the Bobsave, you might have thought we were in for a long and glorious night between two teams that share the same state but have never been true rivals and only now are learning the joys and agonies of hating the other team, because that's how nature intended it.

But no, one minute you look up and there's seven minutes to go, you order a beer and look up again and it's the fake jocularity and cliche-strangled despair of the postgame show. Put another way, you can ask a bartender to change the big screen from a basketball playoff game to a hockey playoff game if you get to a second overtime. You cannot ask a bartender to change the small screen over the entrance to the restroom to watch three minutes.

As this relates to the Panthers and their 2-0 lead over Tampa, the overtime can be a positive weapon. Florida has won its last 11 consecutive playoff overtime games going to back to the days when Bob was still in Columbus, and that streak runs through six different coaches, which speaks more to their often forlorn state than anything else. Only two teams have played more overtime games in those nine years, and nobody has won 11 of them. This could actually become a boon for a team that's already a legitimate Cup contender when when Bob isn't being that Bob. The Panthers could give us what we need while the NBA keeps flirting with turning its own postseason clock back two decades. I mean, they play in Sunrise, 45 minutes and a thousand late-night establishments away from Miami, so it's not like they have somewhere exotic to go before closing time. They have nothing better to do than play more.

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