The Philadelphia Flyers and the Carolina Hurricanes had higher expectations this year. Instead of them finding their way back into the playoffs, both teams will finish the season in a meaningless game on Sunday night. There is nothing but pride on the line for both teams.
To the Flyers credit they have gone 5-1-1 in their past seven games. However, they were knocked out of playoff contention with three games left in the season. This will mark their third time in five years watching the playoffs at home.
Steve Mason spoke to the media following the game yesterday, as it may have been his last game as a Flyer. His biggest regret is, “never experiencing a playoff beyond the first round. We came so close in my first full year here, and I really believe if we had gotten past the Rangers in the first round, we could have done [damage]. We had a team that was confident and we were scoring goals.”
Whether if it were Mason’s words, or if the Flyers were playing with pride. They came out flying and dominated the Hurricanes, however they lost the season finale 4-3 in a shootout. Rookie netminder Anthony Stolarz got the nod in net, and was stellar making 31 saves in the shootout loss. Stolarz finishes the season 2-1-1, and looks to be ready to be a full-time goaltender for the Flyers next season.
The Flyers were struggling to maintain possession early in the period, and the Hurricanes made sure to take full advantage. Brock Mcginn entered the Flyers zone off a Flyers turnover. He roofed a snap wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle, past Stolarz for an early 1-0 Hurricanes lead.
With the Flyers dominating the Hurricanes through the second half of the first period, Jordan Weal took a hooking penalty at 18:32 killing the Flyers momentum. The Hurricanes could not cash in on the power play, but did manage two shots on net. Stolarz made both saves keeping the score 1-0 Hurricanes.
The Flyers found themselves trailing 1-0 after the first period. However, they man handled the Hurricanes with their dominate play late in the period. The Flyers managed to outshoot the Hurricanes 11-10 for the period, but they wound up losing the faceoff margin 54%-46%.
The Flyers entered the second period determined to take command of the game. Their perseverance finally paid off nearly midway through the period. Sean Couturier threaded a pass through the slot to a cutting Dale Weise. Weise made no mistake placing the puck past Eddie Lack tying the game at 1. It was Weise’s 7th goal of the year.
With the Flyers dominating the Hurricanes throughout the second period, Matt Tennyson took a hi-sticking penalty with 3:50 remaining. The Flyers could not cash in on the power play, but did manage two shots on net. Lack made both saves keeping the score knotted at 1.
The Flyers man handled the Hurricanes with their dominate play in the second period, and it ended with the score tied at 1. They fired 17 shots on net for the period. The Hurricanes lost the faceoff margin 56%-44%, while firing 8 shots on net for the period.
Early in the third period, Jordan Weal was called for a hi-sticking penalty. The Hurricanes registered 3 shots on goal, but Stolarz made all three saves keeping the score knotted at 1. This left the Hurricanes 0-2 on the power play for the night.
About midway in the third period, the Flyers were clicking on all cylinders. However, Noah Hanifin took a slap shot from the top of the point. Brock Mcginn was able to redirect the puck past Stolarz for a 2-1 Hurricanes lead. It was Mcginn’s 2nd goal of the night.
With the Flyers dominating the Blue Jackets through the first half of the third period, they were finally able to solve Lack. Dale Weise took an easy snap wrist shot from the top of the circles, as he gained entry into the Hurricanes zone. Lack could not track the puck, and it found its way past him tying the game at 2.
The feel good Flyers looked to build off the momentum after scoring their last goal. Shayne Gostisbehere made a nice pivot at the blue line to gain entry into the Hurricanes zone. He then made a nice feed to the trailing Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds made a nice move around Lack, and was able to slide the puck past him for 3-2 Flyers lead.
The Hurricanes looked to even the game with a late penalty to Ivan Provorov. On the ensuing power play, Sebastian Aho took a slap shot from the top of the point. Nick Schultz accidentally redirected the puck past Stolarz tying the game at 3.
The Flyers outplayed the Hurricanes in the third period, but they wound up tied at 3 at the end of the period. The Flyers outshot the Hurricanes 39-34 for the game, and the faceoff margin was evenly split at 50%.
What an overtime. It was end to end, with both teams getting quality scoring chances. The overtime ended with the score still tied at 3. The Flyers outshot the Hurricanes in the overtime session 4-1.
The Flyers wound up losing the shootout. Claude Giroux scored the lone goal in the shootout for the Flyers, but it was not enough as Bryan Bickell and Brock Mcginn tallied the shootout goals for the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes wound up winning the finale 4-3.
Despite the loss in the season finale and not making the post season, the Flyers have a lot to be happy about. They played well down the stretch going 6-1 in their last seven games, and they are stock piled with youth. Fortunately, Gostisbehere got better as the season wore on, and Anthony Stolarz was a solid net minder. Travis Konecny had a decent year, and budding star Ivan Provorov was phenomenal. These young players all now have NHL experience, and it makes it a bright future for the Flyers.
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Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tom Mihalek