Thursday’s match up between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia figured to be tough sledding for the Hurricanes against an opponent that needed to win at least one and possibly two of its last two games to secure a playoff spot.
And that is how the first period played out on the ice, but interestingly in a reversal of Canes’ fortunes, the period featured the same inversion of shot metrics versus scoreboard. The Flyers came out with exactly the intensity that one would have expected, generally drove play and piled up a 15 to 7 shots on goal advantage in addition to clanging two shots off of goal posts. But between some luck from the pipes and Scott Darling starting well, the Hurricanes somehow emerged from the first period with a 2-1 lead. Klas Dahlbeck scored his first of the season when the Flyers failed to sort things out off the rush with players changing such that Dahlbeck received a second pass inside the offensive zone and had time to skate into a label a shot past Flyers goalie Brian Elliott. Michael Raffl struck back when the Hurricanes were beaten up the ice off the rush. But Sebastian Aho scored his 29th of the season on soft goal that banked off the side of the goalie on a rebound on a Valentin Zykov shot. The period wrapped up as a mirror image of a usual Hurricanes first period with a big shot disadvantage but a lead from a couple break downs by the opponent and some opportunistic scoring.
The second period was mostly more of the same, as the Flyers continued to pour on volume in hopes of converting it to production and a much-needed win. The Flyers were rewarded for their efforts when Ivan Provorov converted a rebound opportunity to pull even at 2-2 late in the second period. That is how the period ended.
The Flyers struck first in the third period when captain Claude Giroux received a pass in the slot with all kinds of time to label a shot for the net behind Darling. But Elliott gifted the Canes another goal when he had a harmless shot squeak through him on a shot from a horrible angle from Jordan Staal. But shortly thereafter, Darling returned the favor when he too was beaten from a tough angle to push the Flyers to a 4-3 lead which held up to be the final score.
Notes from the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers
1) Sebastian Aho and company
The best story going right now (in my humble opinion) is Sebastian Aho’s quest for 30 goals. His finish from an odd angle on a rebound pushed him to 29 with a chance to hit 30 at home in the season finale. The goal was another that saw Zykov step into the right place to receive and finish and also was the 40th assist on the season for Teuvo Teravainen.
2) Lackluster effort
Brian Elliott gifting the Hurricanes with two goals made a huge difference in making this game look closer than it was. The Hurricanes were outplayed by a wide margin for significant stretches of Thursday’s game.
3) Scott Darling
Four goals against is not a great top line number for Scott Darling, but he continued to at least show intermittent signs of improved play. He looks sharper in terms of tracking shots, and his level of anticipation continues to show improvement. If you take away the Flyers’ game-winning goal which was a soft one, his night is a decent even if not spectacular one. But unfortunately, one of the challenges is that for a goalie, a single soft goal can often tip an entire outing to the negative side.
4) Good for Klas Dahlbeck
Looking like he does it all the time, Klas Dahlbeck stepped into a hole on the secondary rush to receive a pass and label a shot for a goal. The goal was his first of the season. Good for him!
Next up for the Hurricanes is the season finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena on Saturday night.