PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryan Bickell scored in the shootout of his final game before retiring because of multiple sclerosis, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Sunday in the season finale for both teams.
During a stoppage in the first period, fans and players from both teams gave Bickell a standing ovation and stick tap. The 31-year-old three-time Stanley Cup champion was diagnosed with MS in November but returned to hockey in February.
His shootout goal was the first of his career in his second attempt and set up Brock McGinn’s winner on the final shot of Carolina’s season. McGinn also scored twice in regulation.
It was an emotional night for Bickell, who had his wife and daughter watching from the stands. It was an otherwise meaningless game between two teams who fell short of preseason expectations to reach the playoffs.
Sebastian Aho sent the game into overtime when he scored a power-play goal with 5:10 remaining in regulation.
Eddie Lack stopped 41 shots for the Hurricanes, who finished the season 36-31-15.
Dale Weise scored a pair of goals and Wayne Simmonds netted his team-high 31st for the Flyers. Rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz stopped 32 shots. The Flyers finished the season with a 39-33-10 record.
The Hurricanes have missed the playoffs eight straight seasons, including the last three under head coach Bill Peters.
The Flyers have missed the playoffs three times in their last five years. Philadelphia reached the postseason last year under first-year coach Dave Hakstol but was eliminated in the first round by the Washington Capitals.
McGinn put Carolina up 5:42 into the first, and Weise tied it 8:46 into the second.
The teams then alternated goals in the third period, with McGinn and Weise again scoring in succession before Simmonds’ go-ahead goal with 7:55 left and Aho’s tying tally.
NOTES: Rookie C Mike Vecchione, signed by the Flyers on March 31 after becoming a Hobey Baker finalist at Union College, played in his second NHL game and first in Philadelphia. … Jakub Voracek finished the season as the Flyers’ point leader with 61 (20 goals, 41 assists). Jeff Skinner led the Hurricanes with 63 points (37 goals, 26 assists).