Flyers 'couldn't let this one get away' -- and they didn't in huge win over Hurricanes

Flyers 'couldn't let this one get away' -- and they didn't in huge win over Hurricanes

They could have very easily gone quietly into the night at the end of regulation. They could have lost and remained seven points out of a wild card spot.

Instead, the Flyers fought back late in the third period to tie the game and then won it in overtime, 4-3, over Carolina on Brayden Schenn's 22nd goal of the season (see game story).

That stunning finish left Dave Hakstol's club five points out of the wild card with a four-game road trip starting Tuesday in Winnipeg.

 "We couldn't let this one get away from us," said goalie Steve Mason, who had a 2-0 lead at one point and then trailed 3-2 late. "That would have been a devastating loss. We crawled back and found a way."
 
Sean Couturier had a hand in three of the four goals and was a plus-3. Rookie Travis Konecny tied the game with 43 seconds left in regulation, which gave the Flyers new life in which they capitalized upon as soon as overtime began.
 
From a morale standpoint, this was a shot of bourbon after the Flyers were listless and beaten down following a 6-2 loss in New Jersey on Thursday. If they lost this game, no way they could begin their four-game trip with any sign of positive thinking.
 
"Full credit to our guys for staying in it," said Dale Weise, who notched his second goal in three games. "We found a way to tie it up late there with a lucky goal. Those are the bounces you need to win hockey games."
 
Too many times this season the Flyers have won the game of statistics or intangibles -- shots, quality scoring chances and overall solid play -- only to lose the game because they could only squeeze out a goal or two.
 
"We need to get streaky here and make a push and see what happens," Couturier said. "We needed these two points."
 
They won in overtime on a rare Couturier-led rush with Schenn scoring off a rebound on goalie Cam Ward. Couturier began the play by beating Sebastian Aho on a defensive zone faceoff.
 
"That's a huge 3-on-3," Couturier said. "We got puck control and came out with speed. Provy [Ivan Provorov] hit me with speed and I tried to attack the forward and put the puck on net and Schenner jumped on that loose puck. This time of year, the situation we are in, we need to get some dirty wins."
 
Couturier's determined effort from the faceoff to the finish allowed for the game-winning goal.
 
“He plays strong," team captain Claude Giroux said. "He was flying out there. That last goal doesn't happen if he doesn't take it to the net like that. So it was a great play.”

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

Best of NHL: Nikita Kucherov hat trick lifts Lightning over Bruins

BOSTON -- Nikita Kucherov had his third career hat trick to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, snapping the Lightning's three-game losing streak.

Jonathan Drouin had a goal and two assists, Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Anton Stralman also scored to help the Lightning pull three points behind the Bruins for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Peter Budaj finished with 28 saves for the Lightning to earn his 29th win of the season. Ondrej Palat had three assists, and Jake Dotchin and Victor Hedman added two each.

Riley Nashy had a goal and an assist for Boston, and David Pastrnak and Zdeno Chara also scored. Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots as Boston, which won seven of the first eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, has now lost four straight and six of 11 (see full recap).

Oshie beats Bobrovsky to give Caps SO win
WASHINGTON -- T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night.

Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings. Oshie engendered memories of his Sochi Olympic shootout performance by again beating Bobrovsky, the goalie he scored on four times in six chances that day.

Dmitry Orlov finally cracked Bobrovsky early in the third period on Washington's 35th shot of the game. Orlov's goal tied the score after Seth Jones beat Braden Holtby on a wild scramble early in the third for his first goal since Feb. 7.

Holtby had 29 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his 38th victory of the season, one shy of Bobrovsky for the league lead (see full recap).

Senators take down Penguins in shootout
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Mike Hoffman scored in regulation for the Senators and Mike Condon finished with 34 saves, including two incredible point-blank stops in overtime to keep the game going.

Nick Bonino had the goal in regulation for the Penguins and Matt Murray stopped 29 shots.

After being outplayed for much of the first two periods, the Senators were much better in the third and tied the score 1-1 on the power play at 9:43 as Hoffman beat Murray over the shoulder with a wrist shot just 14 seconds after Matt Cullen was penalized for holding (see full recap).

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

Flyers regroup behind Steve Mason for big win over Wild

BOX SCORE

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When Zach Parise scored for the Minnesota Wild just 2:07 into Thursday's game, the Flyers were in another difficult position on the road.

This time, they responded with the type of game they've needed on the road all season.

The Flyers scored three unanswered goals by Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek to beat Minnesota, 3-1, and snap a four-game losing streak on the road (see Instant Replay).

"They're a tough team to handle in their transition," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Parise's goal. "It's quick and it's fast. The players on the bench were outstanding, talking, real calm. Just go out and push it the other way the next shift and I thought we were able to do that."

The Flyers responded with one of their best efforts on the road in nearly two months and pulled within six points of Boston for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see standings). The Bruins lost, 6-3, at home to Tampa Bay.

Steve Mason made 24 saves in goal for his 100th win with the Flyers as the team was rarely challenged thanks to an all-around performance that has been missing on the road. The Flyers entered the night tied for the second-fewest road wins in the conference this season.

"Certain things on the road, you've got to be a little more specific with your game and detailed, and I think we did a better job of that tonight," said Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz, who returned to the arena where he played 10 seasons with Minnesota. "Everybody throughout the lineup did that and that's why we got a big win."

The beginning looked all too familiar, though.

An innocent looking dump-in slid to Mason, who tried to cover the puck. The puck went off his stick and Parise quickly poked it past Mason. The Wild had four quality chances early before the Flyers took control.

"They came hard early on in the game and to be able to match that speed; that was a completely different pace of game compared to what we came from in Winnipeg," Mason said. "So, it almost took a second to get your bearings straight to get up to speed."

The Flyers weathered the early flurry by Minnesota, which is safely in playoff position in the West but is facing its own late-season issues. The Flyers killed off both Wild penalties, allowing just two shots on the penalty kill.

Couturier's 12th goal of the season was critical in tying the game with 2:01 left in the first (see feature highlight).

"Coming into the room after the period, I think it's important when you get a big goal like that," captain Claude Giroux said. "You feel like you have the momentum a little bit, so it definitely helped us a lot."

Read provided the lead in the second and the Flyers, who are now 15-2-2 when leading after two periods, pressured in the third. They outshot the Wild, 9-4, in the final period.

"We didn't sit back," Hakstol said. "I thought we were confident with the puck and made some plays and spent a good amount of time in the offensive zone. We played with real confidence in our game."

Mason had been critical after the Flyers lost in Winnipeg on Tuesday, saying the team needed to be more desperate. The Flyers responded Thursday in the difficult position of being on the road and allowing the first goal.

"We knew we had to be better," Schultz said of Mason's comments. "I think on the road, you've got to be at least a .500 team and take care of business at home, and we haven't done that this year. So, obviously, we've got to get better and I think we did respond tonight. Now we have to build on it."