The Hurricanes got the bulk of their work done in their Thursday night win over the Devils that clinched their first playoff berth in a decade, but there was still plenty to play for on Saturday night in the City of Brotherly Love.
A Canes win of any kind against the Flyers would secure their seeding as the Eastern Conference’s first wild card team. Combining a Rangers regulation win in Pittsburgh to that equation would bump the Canes up to third in the Metropolitan Division.
Unfortunately for Carolina, the Rangers needed overtime to deposit the Pens, but the Canes took care of business and secured their spot as the seventh-seeded team in the East. The Hurricanes will play the Capitals in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Here’s how Saturday’s regular season finale in Philly transpired.
The first period was all Carolina. After some sustained offensive pressure from the Canes, they finally broke through just before the half-way mark of the opening frame thanks to Warren Foegele’s second goal in as many games and his tenth of the year.
Warren Foegele has goals in back-to-back games, now up to 10 on his rookie season. 1-0 Canes in Philly. pic.twitter.com/dRQzBrAH7a— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) April 6, 2019
Just over two minutes later, Justin Faulk followed suit and ripped a loose puck in the slot by Carter Hart to make it 2-0 in favor of the Hurricanes.
Oskar Lindblom, who has had a knack for finding twine against the Canes this season, got Philadelphia on the board moments later, but Teuvo Teravainen hit the 75-point mark shortly thereafter, potting a centering feed from Jordan Staal to put the Canes in the driver’s seat, up 3-1 through 20 minutes.
The second period wasn’t nearly as kind to the Canes, though, as the Flyers started pushing the tempo in their final game of the season. An early goal from Travis Konecny cut the Carolina lead to just one goal, and a Dougie Hamilton holding penalty led to Sean Couturier netting his 33rd goal of the season to tie the game not even seven minutes into the middle frame.
As he has been so many times as of late, Jordan Staal was in the right place at the right time less than 90 seconds later after Dougie Hamilton held onto the puck and got it to the front of the net
A number of close calls through the second half of the period made that one-goal lead feel uneasy, at best, for the Canes, but Curtis McElhinney rebounded and made some massive stops, including one with his mask, to secure a Hurricanes lead going into the second intermission.
The third period featured just as many close calls for the Canes, who continued to flounder in their own zone. They were constantly bailed out by McElhinney, who got all of one shot on goal out of the team in front of him in the final frame, but it didn’t matter in the end. The veteran backstop capped off his great regular season with 28 saves on 31 shots in the win.
The Hurricanes survived game 82 and beat Philadelphia by a final tally of 4-3 in regulation. The Canes finish the campaign with 99 points, which is the second-most in Hurricanes/Whalers franchise history. Brett Pesce also finds himself in the record book, finishing the season with a plus-35 rating - the best in the history of the franchise.
It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster season, and while the 82-game slate is over, this is not the end for the 2018-19 Carolina Hurricanes.
Next up, round one against the defending Stanley Cup champions.