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game recap

Hurricanes lock up first Eastern wild card with win against Flyers

Will face Capitals in first playoff appearance since 2009

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Staal puts Hurricanes back ahead

CAR@PHI: Staal restores lead for Hurricanes

Jordan Staal kicks a deflected pass to his stick and snaps a shot into the net to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead in the 2nd

  • 00:40 •

PHILADELPHIA -- The Carolina Hurricanes clinched the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

The Hurricanes (46-29-7), in the postseason for the first time since 2009, will play the Metropolitan Division champion Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference First Round.

"It's going to be a big challenge for us, the defending Stanley Cup champions," goalie Curtis McElhinney said. "It'll be a tough series but something everybody in here is excited for and looking forward to."

 

[WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Flyers highlights]

 

Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist for Carolina in its final game, and McElhinney made 28 saves.

The win was Carolina's 22nd on the road, setting a Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers record.

"Obviously it wasn't our best," Staal said. "But the team found a way to win. They played us hard, we gutted it out at the end. [McElhinney] played great to keep that 4-3 for a while there. It was a good win."

Video: CAR@PHI: Foegele snaps one past Hart from slot

Oskar Lindblom, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny scored for Philadelphia (37-37-2), which failed to qualify for the postseason for the second time in three seasons.

"We dug ourselves a big hole at the beginning of the year," Couturier said. "We pushed hard and battled hard to get back in the (playoff) race, we were close at one point. We lost some crucial games, and at the end of the year, it was disappointing the way we finished. ... It feels like guys kind of had a little letdown at the end."

Carter Hart made 24 saves for the Flyers, who ended the season with five straight losses.

Staal scored from the left slot to put the Hurricanes ahead 4-3 at 7:33 of the second period. Dougie Hamilton's pass from behind the net bounced off Couturier's skate to Staal.

"I'll take it," Staal said. "Don't know exactly where that went but heck of a pass from Dougie. Fortunately, it ended up around my skates and fortunate to get it in."

Video: CAR@PHI: McElhinney closes pads to stop Couturier

The Flyers rallied from down 3-1 to tie the game earlier in the second.

Konecny scored at 1:27 to make it 3-2 after Scott Laughton caused a turnover in the Hurricanes zone. Couturier tipped a shot by Jakub Voracek at 6:07 to tie it 3-3.

Philadelphia outshot Carolina 10-1 in the third.

"I thought the third period was our best period, just giving up one shot," Flyers coach Scott Gordon said. "We spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, just couldn't get the equalizer."

Warren Foegele scored from the slot to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 9:20 of the first period, and Justin Faulk scored at 11:29 to make it 2-0.

Lindblom scored for the third straight game to make it 2-1 at 14:19. He lifted a backhand from in front of the net off a centering pass from Travis Sanheim.

Video: CAR@PHI: Faulk goes top shelf on Hart

Teravainen made it 3-1 at 15:40 with his 21st goal of the season and fourth in four games against the Flyers.

"Getting the lead is always important in this league," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "They came out a little flat and (then) they got going. We gave them a little momentum because we were terrible really after the first period. We never got anything going, and they got rolling. But nobody's going to remember this game come tomorrow. I'm happy the guys got the win, and we'll turn the page."

 

They said it

"It's going to be a great challenge. You're playing the Stanley Cup champs. It'll be tough, we know that. No matter who we're playing, it was going to be an uphill battle, we know that. I like the way this group has responded all year to challenges. This is obviously a big one coming up." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour on facing the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs

"There's things in the second half (of the season) that we did that we can take into the next season that we did well on. The effort that it takes to get into the postseason ... obviously we didn't get off to a start that we wanted to, and I think that's going to be key going into next season. There's little areas that obviously we probably want to clean up and details I'm sure we'll address come next season." -- Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim

 

Need to know

Carolina's 46 wins are the second-most in Hurricanes/Whalers history; the Hurricanes had 52 wins in 2005-06, when they won the Stanley Cup. ... The Flyers gave out team awards before the game. Couturier was voted MVP, Radko Gudas was named the best defenseman, Sanheim was voted most improved player, and defenseman Andrew MacDonald won the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award. ... Flyers defenseman Mark Friedman was minus-1 with one shot on goal and one hit in 12:33 in his NHL debut.

 

What's next

Hurricanes: At the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of Eastern Conference First Round (TBA)

Flyers: Season over

Video: Hurricanes top Flyers in regular-season finale

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