Hurricanes 5, Flyers 2: Officially eliminated from playoff contention



After firing their general manager and head coach, sitting in last place of the 31-team NHL standings more than halfway through the season and coming within three points of a playoff spot down the stretch, the Flyers were officially eliminated from postseason contention Saturday afternoon with a 5-2 loss to the Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

The Flyers (37-33-8) have missed the playoffs in four of the last seven seasons, which includes the 2012-13 shortened campaign. They haven't made the postseason in consecutive years since 2010-12, when they last won a series.

The Hurricanes (43-28-7) put the game out of reach with two empty-netters. Carolina still has plenty to play for as it's trying to secure one of the Eastern Conference's wild-card spots.

• Some frustrations came out for the Flyers with eight minutes left in the third period. Sean Couturier appeared to be tripped by goalie Petr Mrazek. He was then given a game misconduct shortly after when the Hurricanes extended their lead to 3-1 with a power-play marker.

"I didn't say anything," Couturier told reporters postgame. "I slammed my stick with frustration, just gave [the official] the stare down and next thing you know, I'm kicked out."

The realization of elimination was probably setting in for the Flyers. They scored to make it 3-2 but no Couturier or Shayne Gostisbehere in that spot is tough.

• In order to get Samuel Morin some game action over these final five games, Gostisbehere sat Saturday for a non-performance-based healthy scratch.

Morin played 14:46, had two blocked shots and two giveaways. He will not play Sunday but will see more audition time over the final three games of 2018-19.

• The Flyers' first of three power-play opportunities was quite interesting.

For one, there was no Gostisbehere running the point. He is so impactful when he's up top directing the attack and he also helps with entries because of his elusiveness.

Travis Sanheim worked on the first unit in his place and the man-advantage opportunity didn't go well. Carolina nearly scored shorthanded as Sebastian Aho blew past Sanheim for a shot that went wide.

Then, Phil Varone saw some power-play time on the second unit, which is rare for the 28-year-old fourth-liner.

Oskar Lindblom scored the Flyers' man-advantage goal in the third period.

• NBC Sports Philadelphia Flyers analyst Chris Therien hit the nail on the head during intermission live after the first period.

"The Flyers have got to wake up here in their own zone," Therien said.

The Flyers did very little to help Cam Talbot when the Hurricanes scored two goals in a 21-second span to take a 2-1 lead.

On Carolina's power-play goal to tie it, Justin Williams got in deep way too easily before the puck pinballed between Ivan Provorov, Scott Laughton and Lindblom. Neither of the three could clear it and Teuvo Teravainen took advantage, punching it home past Talbot.

On the Hurricanes' go-ahead goal, Carolina was all over Talbot with nobody impeding bodies in front. Dougie Hamilton finished it off by flushing a rebound as Talbot was scrambling.

• Talbot, in just his second start since being acquired in mid-February, looked fine and made 27 saves. The third goal was a power-play blast that he didn't seem to see despite a relatively clear shooting lane for Justin Faulk.

• Claude Giroux scored his 21st goal off a 2-on-1 with Corban Knight, handing the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the opening stanza. It was his first goal in the past 11 games and his second in March, but Giroux is almost always effective, even if he isn't lighting the lamp.

Here are the captain's stats over the last two seasons: 183 points (55 goals, 128 assists) and a plus-40 mark in 160 games.

Only Connor McDavid, Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon have more points since the start of the 2017-18 season.

McDavid is 22 years old, Kucherov is 25 and MacKinnon is 23. Giroux is 31 ... impressive stuff from him to be in that category of guys.

• The Flyers are right back at it when they host the Rangers on Sunday (12:30 p.m./NBC).

The Flyers have been outscored 51-36 in the second game of back-to-back sets.

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