PHILADELPHIA — While meaningless April games have become the status quo in Raleigh, the Philadelphia Flyers are having a much more exciting month. They needed a win tonight to keep pace with the last Wild Card spot. They played like a team hungry for a playoff berth, and their desperation was rewarded as they took down the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-3.
The first period opened up fairly uneventful until around 14 minutes in, when Derek Ryan streaked up the boards into the offensive zone and curled up, finding Jeff Skinner at the top of the opposing circle. Skinner left it for Klas Dahlbeck who made no mistake in scoring his first goal of the season.
The Flyers would answer almost immediately, though, earning a two-on-one against Noah Hanifin as Trevor van Riemsdyk pinched at the blue line. He got back, but a defensive breakdown left van Riemsdyk screening Scott Darling as Michael Raffl put it away from the center of the slot to tie the game.
Sebastian Aho reclaimed the lead just 14 seconds later with a beauty. Teuvo Teravainen stickhandled his way to the face-off dot and found Jaccob Slavin in the slot. Slavin quickly moved it to Aho just behind the net, who came around the other side and put a backhand past Brian Elliott.
The second period started fast and the Flyers seemed to be out-skating the Canes. Jori Lehtera missed a large hole on Scott Darling’s stick side sitting right on the doorstep about six minutes into the second.
A few minutes later a scrum developed at the blue line next to the Canes bench and Jeff Skinner somehow ended up receiving an interference call from the bench. Brandon Manning was assessed a slashing as well. Manning was looking for someone to go with, even throwing down the gauntlet to Flyers Hall of Famer and Canes assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour at one point:
We're rooting for The Bod.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) April 6, 2018
The Canes took advantage of four-on-four hockey generating a lot of zone time and some shots but couldn’t get one where it counts.
The second saw a good amount of energy from both sides and some tempers flying, but no Canes goals. With five minutes remaining in the period, Sean Couturier held the puck along the half boards and found Ivan Provorov streaking to the slot with a great pass. Darling was beaten to his stick side as Provorov scored his 16th goal and 40th point in a breakout season for the young defenseman.
The Canes came into the third period tied on the scoreboard but with only 13 shots to Philadelphia’s 28. The Canes didn’t even record a shot on goal until the 13 minute mark.
Just over 10 minutes into the third, Sean Couturier moved the puck into the zone creatively and found Claude Giroux floating in the high slot. Giroux had an open look at Darling and buried a sharp wrist shot to the glove side low to make it 3-2 Flyers as the building erupted.
The captain secured his 31st goal of the season, a new career high for him. He received a huge standing ovation from the Philadelphia fans in the following commercial break.
The Canes tied it up three minutes later when Jordan Staal carried the puck down into the corner and threw it at the front of the net. Brian Elliott made a big mental error and let the puck right through his legs in a goal he will really want back.
But Jakub Voracek quickly found the net to reclaim the lead with just under six minutes to play. He snapped a wrist shot from just under the faceoff dot to beat Darling on the short side glove high to make it 4-3.
The Canes pulled Darling following a timeout with a minute to go but it amounted to nothing. The Flyers took the last game of the season series by a score of 4-3.
“We started with the lead and it was 3-3 with half a period to go so the game’s right there hanging in the balance. And they scored the winner on a shift right after a TV timeout, I think it was the last timeout, it was a two-on-two. I didn’t think we moved the puck all that well, especially early. We made it hard on ourselves.”
On Dahlbeck scoring his first of the season:
“Its a reward for staying with it and being a good pro. He’s got a heavy shot, he’s got a hard shot and he scores a lot in practice. It’s a four-on-four situation and he typically wouldn’t be out there if we were 100% healthy and its good to see him take advantage of the opportunity.”
- The Hurricanes end an ugly season series against the Flyers with a loss to bring them to 1-2-1 on the year against the Metropolitan Division opponents. Tonight was a high energy game for Philadelphia as they creep closer to securing a playoff berth.
- We’ve said it before, but the team seemed very complacent with their fate at this point. The players and coaches alike seemed lifeless and defeated.
- To my previous point, Hurricanes put just 22 shots on Brian Elliot tonight. They’ve only tallied less than that once and it was in October against Edmonton. When told the shot totals, Bill Peters just shook his head in disapproval.
- The Canes are off tomorrow and will skate at 10 AM on Saturday in preparation for their last game of the season.
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