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.”

Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn help Flyers complete comeback in crucial OT win over 'Canes

Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn help Flyers complete comeback in crucial OT win over 'Canes

BOX SCORE

It could have been a disaster.
 
Unload 44 shots, get the better of every scoring chance and stick with the game to the end and then … lose.

That's happened a lot of times this season to the Flyers.

On Sunday night, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier made certain it didn't happen, as the Flyers cut their wild-card deficit to five points with a heart-pounding 4-3 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).
 
"We knew things were coming for us," said Konecny, who got the game into overtime with a goal that made it 3-3 in the final minute of regulation. "We knew if we stayed with it, the pucks would go our way. I think the hockey gods were looking down on us."
 
They finally had some luck. With regulation time running out, Konecny tried a pass into the slot area that went off a skate and into the net to send the game to overtime.
 
"I tried passing it out front and knew the goalie [Cam Ward] was out of position," Konecny said. "I knew he didn't know where the puck went. I just knew Coots was there. It went off a skate."
 
That assured at least one point -- everyone matters now for the Flyers in the wild card race -- and got the game into overtime, where Schenn scored the game-winner off the rush with an assist from Provorov, the rookie defenseman who had his first three-point game.
 
"We put pucks to the net," said Schenn, who has three goals in his last four games. "We had a tired hockey team on the other side. We felt we carried the play for the most part, a little flat in the third period but we stuck with it."
 
Carolina was playing for the fifth time in seven days. The 'Canes looked tired, made a push to tie and almost pulled it out were it not the Flyers' tenacity late in regulation.
 
"Everyone stuck with it," coach Dave Hakstol said. "We got a bounce to tie it up but we also made some good plays to get that bounce. And then the play on the winning goal, it was a real, good speed play, power move to take the puck to the net. We finished it off."

The first period saw the Flyers with an 11-3 shot advantage more than 16 minutes into the game without a scoring. Something good finally occurred inside the final minute of the period when Provorov gathered a pass from Andrew MacDonald, spun and unleashed a wicked snap shot from the left circle past Cam Ward for the only goal of the period.

Credit Couturier for forcing a turnover from Jordan Staal that began the play.
 
It was just Provorov's sixth goal this season.
 
Dale Weise, who wears his anger over his season -- and sometimes benchings -- on his sleeve, picked up his second goal in three games midway into the second period to give Steve Mason a 2-0 pad. A juicy rebound courtesy of Valtteri Filppula was just sitting outside the paint for him to stun Ward, who never saw the puck.
 
"It was a good play by Val," Weise said. "I gave it to TK there in the corner much like his goal a couple of games ago, where he's rolling over the top. I was just trying to pull the D out to give him some room to shoot. 
 
"He threw it in there and Val was kind of grinding away in front and the puck popped out to me. I don't think Ward saw it, so I just had to get it up and in."
 
Jeff Skinner has been tough on the Flyers during his career and didn't let up in this one, either. He cut the deficit in half with a gift rebound from Mason for his 26th goal overall this season and 13th lifetime against the Flyers in 25 games.
 
The period ended on a decidedly bad note when Provorov lost his stick during a puck battle behind the net to Phillip Di Giuseppe, who dished the puck into the slot. Mason couldn't react quickly enough on Elias Lindholm's one-timer that tied it, 2-2.
 
That's when the Flyers hit a lull and doubt creeped in, which this club doesn't need with a crucial four-game road trip coming up.
 
"It's in your mind because we've had a lot of games like that," Weise said. "But we stuck together and tied it up late. … It was extremely frustrating.
 
"Up 2-0 in full control and we let them back in the game. We were rolling in the second and all over them. But we did a good job in righting the ship."

Flyers-Hurricanes 5 things: Same old song as playoff hopes are all but dead

Flyers-Hurricanes 5 things: Same old song as playoff hopes are all but dead

Hurricanes (30-27-12) at Flyers (32-30-8)
7:30 p.m. on CSN/CSNPhilly.com and NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 7

The Flyers return home Sunday night to host the Carolina Hurricanes after a lifeless 6-2 loss to the lowly Devils last Thursday night in New Jersey that all but ended the Flyers' playoff hopes.

Let's take a closer look game No. 71 for the orange and black.

1. Same old song
Inconsistency has plagued the Flyers all season long. One night, they look like a playoff team and the next, they turn in a listless effort like they did Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday night's 4-0 blanking of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the Flyers' most complete game this season. It was a 60-minutes effort with very few mistakes. They shut down the NHL's highest-scoring team and did so while also generating offense themselves.

Then comes Thursday's game against the Devils in New Jersey, where the Flyers played like they were the team coming in on a 10-game losing streak. They weren't. Nothing went right in N.J. Steve Mason left with cramps. They were blown out by the Eastern Conference's worst team in an embarrassing defeat. If the dagger had already punctured the skin of the Flyers' playoff hopes, the Devils only dug deeper to send the orange and black back to reality.

"The consistency is something we need to address," Mason said Saturday. "We can't go from having one of our best games of the year against Pittsburgh and then come around the next night against Jersey with that kind of outcome and overall team game.
 
"It's something that we continually seem to be talking about. That's what makes good teams and separates them. Consistency on any given night, what kind of effort they have."

Mason is expected to be in net for the Flyers on Sunday. It would be Mason's eighth start in nine games since the Flyers signed Michal Neuvirth to a two-year contract extension.

2. Playing for draft position
Thursday's 6-2 loss in New Jersey unofficially ended the Flyers' playoff chances. They are not officially eliminated from postseason contention but the odds are astronomically high.

The Flyers have a 0.3 percent chance at making the playoffs, according to SportsClubStats.com. With 72 points, the Flyers would have to win all 12 games in order to reach last season's point total, which was enough to earn the East's second wild-card spot last season. Entering Sunday, they're seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the final spot this year.

Ten of 12 wins would get the Flyers to 92 points, which will not be enough to get in. The magic number to have a realistic shot at the postseason is 11 wins and even then it is still improbable because of tiebreakers. At this point, it'd be better to play for draft position.

At 72 points, the Flyers would be lined up for the ninth pick if the season ended Sunday. Carolina, also with 72 points, could move two points ahead of the Flyers with a win. Big picture, the Flyers are a mediocre team still in a rebuild. With long-term lenses, a higher draft pick this summer would help the cause more than being stuck in the middle of the pack.

However we slice it, this season has been a step back for the Flyers, but it is not the time to panic because they still have kids on the way and it was never about this season anyway.

3. Coming in hot
The Hurricanes come into Sunday's matchup picking up points in their last six games, with a 4-0-2 record and eight of their last 10 games, as they open up a four-game road trip in Philadelphia.

On Saturday night, the 'Canes did away with the Nashville Predators with a 4-2 win thanks to two goals from Jeff Skinner, his fifth multi-goal and sixth multi-point game of the season. Like the Flyers, the Hurricanes are seven points out of a playoff spot. Eddie Lack won his second straight game in net for Carolina against Nashville for his first two-game winning streak as a member of the Hurricanes. Cam Ward is expected to get the starting nod on Sunday night.

This is Carolina's fourth of five meetings with the Flyers. The two teams meet in the season finale on April 9 in Philadelphia. The Hurricanes lost the first two games -- 6-3 in Philadelphia on Oct. 22 and 4-3 in Carolina on Oct. 30 but dominated the orange and black, 5-1, in their last meeting on Jan. 31.

4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Let's roll with Brayden Schenn, who tallied his 21st goal of the season Thursday. Schenn has four points in his last three games and enters on a five-game point streak at home. In his last five games at Wells Fargo Center, Schenn has two goals and four assists.

Hurricanes: Elias Lindholm's shorthanded empty-net goal on Saturday night extended his point streak to six games. Lindholm's 29 assists have surpassed his career-high in his fourth season. He had two assists in the Hurricanes' 5-1 win over the Flyers on Jan. 31 but was held scoreless in two other games against the orange and black.

5. This and that
• Claude Giroux extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, four assists) with an assist Thursday. He has a goal and two assists in three games against Carolina this season.

• The Hurricanes are 6-4-3 on the latter half of a back-to-back this season.

• Brandon Manning is expected to return to the lineup Sunday after missing three games with a right shoulder injury. Nick Schultz is expected to sit if Manning can return.

• Skinner's two goals on Saturday moved him ahead of Sami Kapanen on Carolina's career points list since the team moved from Hartford to Raleigh, North Carolina. Skinner now has 315 career points.