Flyers strike late, trip Hurricanes in OT
PHILADELPHIA -- It took a little luck and lot of perseverance, but the Philadelphia Flyers kept their faint playoff hopes flickering with an emotional 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.
Rookie forward Travis Konecny tied the score with a power-play goal with 42.9 seconds remaining in regulation, and Brayden Schenn won it 38 seconds into overtime, lifting the Flyers to their second win in three games.
The Flyers crept within five points of the Toronto Maple Leafs in their pursuit of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia (33-30-8) likely needs to win almost all of its remaining 11 games to earn a spot in the postseason.
“We circled this road trip a while back,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said about upcoming visits to Winnipeg, Minnesota, Columbus and Pittsburgh. “We’re playing some tough teams, but we’re ready for it and pretty excited to get it going.”
Rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov recorded a goal and two assists, forward Sean Couturier picked up three assists and Dale Weise also scored for the Flyers, who blew an early two-goal lead but stormed back in the final minute to salvage the two points.
Goaltender Steve Mason, making his ninth start in 10 games, made 19 saves to improve to 21-20-7.
Jeff Skinner, Elias Lindholm and Jordan Staal scored for the Hurricanes (30-27-13), who extended their points streak to seven games (4-0-3). Goaltender Cam Ward stopped 40 of 44 shots to take the loss and fall to 23-20-11. He is 2-0-3 in his last five starts.
The Hurricanes’ 13 overtime losses are the second most in the NHL, behind only the Maple Leafs (15).
“It’s never a fun way to lose when you’re up with 30 seconds to go,” said Staal, whose power-play goal gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead with 8:11 remaining in regulation. “It’s nice to get a point, but it would have been better with two.”
Konecny sent the game into overtime when he scored his 11th goal of the season in the final minute of regulation. From below the goal line, Konecny blindly fired the puck into the slot and it caromed off Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce and behind Ward.
“We tried to play our best and Philly played unbelievable too,” Lindholm said. “It was a tough game for us.”
The Flyers won it on their first rush up the ice in overtime, with Schenn finishing off a drive to the net by Couturier, who set a career high with three assists.
“It was a lucky bounce on (Konecny‘s) goal and it gave us some life late in the hockey game and let us come out with two points,” said Schenn, who now has 22 goals.
Staal’s power-play goal with 8:11 remaining in the third period gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead. It came with Couturier in the penalty box serving a minor penalty for slashing.
“It was a bad penalty,” Couturier said. “I should have been smarter and I really wanted us to have a shot at tying it up and getting a win. I‘m just happy we won at the end.”
The Flyers dominated play early, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Provorov and Weise, but the Hurricanes answered with second-period goals by Skinner and Lindholm.
Playing in their fifth game in seven nights, the Hurricanes looked sluggish in the opening period, getting outshot 15-4 and falling behind on Provorov’s sixth goal, a snap shot over Ward’s right shoulder. Staal was stripped of the puck behind the Carolina net by Couturier, who picked up an assist on the goal.
Weise gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead 11:03 into the second period when he crashed the net and fired a shot past a scrambling Ward for his fourth goal and his second in three games. Signed as a free agent last summer, Weise had just two goals in his first 49 games with the Flyers and was a late substitution for Roman Lyubimov, who was a healthy scratch.
The Hurricanes took advantage of a little luck to knot the score in the second period. Skinner was unguarded at the right side of Philadelphia’s net when Noah Hanifin’s errant shot caromed off the end boards and onto his stick for an easy tap-in at the 12:37 mark to make it 2-1. The goal was Skinner’s 26th and his third in two games.
Lindholm tied the score with 1:04 remaining in the second period when he rifled a shot past Mason from about 30 feet away. Viktor Rask picked up an assist on the play after taking the puck away from Provorov, who broke his stick.
NOTES: Flyers C Claude Giroux saw his six-game point streak (2 goals, 4 assists) come to an end. He is two goals away from passing Jeff Carter for 15th on the Flyers’ all-time list. ... The Flyers don’t play a home game again until March 28 against Ottawa. ... Forwards Jay McClement (lower body injury) and Valentin Zykov (upper body injury) missed their third and fifth consecutive games, respectively. ... The Hurricanes continue their four-game road trip Tuesday night in Florida, followed by stops in Montreal on Thursday and New Jersey on Saturday.