Flyers Drop Regular Season Finale, 6-5 To ‘Canes In SO
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eric Staal scored twice in regulation and had the only goal in the shootout to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in regular-season finale Sunday.
Jeff Skinner added a pair of goals for the Hurricanes, who finish the season in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, outside of the playoff picture.
Wayne Simmonds scored twice for the Flyers, who had already wrapped up third place in the Metropolitan Division and a date with the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs later this week.
Cal Heeter made 33 saves in his NHL debut for the Flyers, before stopping one of two shots in the shootout. Heeter was recalled from the Philadelphia Phantoms and given the start after Steve Mason suffered an upper-body injury in Saturday’s win over the Penguins.
Anton Khudobin made 39 saves and stopped all three of shots in the shootout for the Carolina.
Skinner scored his 33rd goal of the season on a power play with 4:21 left, giving the Hurricanes a 5-4 lead after the puck took a weird carom off the boards and left him shooting at an open net.
But Simmonds tied the game, scoring on a rebound with 9.5 seconds left for his career-high 29th of the season.
Trailing 4-1, the Flyers went on a second-period offensive, scoring three goals to tie the game, including two within 10 seconds of each other — on a power-play slap shot from the point from Kimmo Timonen and a wrister from Simmonds.
With less than five minutes remaining in the period, Sean Couturier tied the game with a steal and pretty move on a breakaway, matching his career high with his 13th goal.
Heeter’s debut got off to an inauspicious start as he failed to stop the first shot he faced, with Skinner beating him with a wrist shot.
The Hurricanes scored twice more before the first period ended, with Staal beating Heeter on a low shot from the left circle and Manny Malhotra going five-hole on the rookie for his first goal since Jan. 25.
Staal scored his second just 17 seconds into the second period on an easy shot from the right circle.
The Flyers scored their first goal midway through the first period when Matt Read blasted in a one-timer from Jason Akeson, who logged his first NHL assist. Akeson, who was called up from the Phantoms for Sunday’s game, has two points in two career NHL games.
Notes: Before the game, Claude Giroux was presented with the Bobby Clarke Trophy, given to the team’s MVP as voted on by local sports writers and broadcasters. Mason, Timonen, Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl also won team awards, and Vincent Lecavalier was honored for recently reaching the 400-goal milestone. . The Flyers finished 0-2-2 against the Hurricanes this season, marking the first time they went an entire season without beating the Carolina/Hartford franchise since 1991-92.
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