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A crucial victory kept the Flyers in control of their own playoff destiny.
Jakub Voracek scored with 5:45 left in the third period to lift playoff-chasing Philadelphia over the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Thursday night.
Claude Giroux Luke Willson Jersey , Ivan Provorov and Michael Raffl also scored for Philadelphia, which began play holding the second and final wild card, four points ahead of Florida. The Flyers would have clinched a playoff spot if Boston beat the Panthers, but Florida topped the Bruins 3-2 later Thursday.
Philadelphia can secure a playoff spot in its final regular-season game on Saturday with a victory over the Rangers or an overtime loss. A Florida loss in either of its final two games, Saturday against Buffalo and Sunday at Boston, also would send Philadelphia to the postseason.
”We got the job done tonight,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. ”Now we have a big one Saturday afternoon.”
The Flyers seemed in great shape when Giroux put them up 3-2 with 9:42 remaining behind a wrist shot that beat goalie Scott Darling. It extended the Flyers captain’s career-high totals to 31 goals and 98 points. Flyers fans shouted ”M-V-P!” `’M-V-P!” when Giroux was shown on the video board following the tally.
The Hurricanes erased the lead when Brian Elliott let in his second soft goal of the game, this one Jordan Staal’s backhander from a sharp angle near the side boards with 6:19 left.
Elliott returned to work after missing the last 25 games following core muscle surgery on Feb. 13. Elliott Todd Davis Jersey , who was injured on Feb. 10, entered 21-11-7 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .908 save percentage this season. He finished with 19 saves.
”It’s almost like opening-night jitters again,” Elliott said. ”It’s hard to replicate a game in practice.”
Voracek scored on a wrist shot from a sharp angle that got past Darling’s left shoulder.
It was enough to send the Flyers to victory.
”We battled hard, we grinded it out and we played the right way,” Giroux said.
Philadelphia’s captain is feeling good about his team’s chances in their final – and most important – game.
”We like the way we’re playing right now,” he said. ”Everybody is doing their job, doing what they’re best at. Normally when you do that, you get wins.”
Klas Dahlbeck and Sebastian Aho also scored for Carolina Jose Altuve Jersey , which has lost three straight and four of five. The Hurricanes had already been eliminated from playoff contention.
”We got better as the game went on and more competitive as the game went on,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said.
The Flyers dominated the opening 10 minutes, outshooting Carolina 13-3, but couldn’t get on the board. The Hurricanes finally struck with 6:15 left in the first when Dahlbeck netted his first goal in his 32nd game of the season and just the sixth in his 169-game career.
Raffl answered 53 seconds later when he banged home a shot in front after Giroux’s pass was intercepted by Carolina’s Justin Williams but went fortuitously to Raffl in front of the net.
The Hurricanes quickly broke the tie when Aho scored on a backhander from a sharp angle to the right of Elliott 14 seconds after Raffl’s tally. The goal was a soft one for Elliott.
Philadelphia scored the only goal in the second period when Provorov finished an excellent pass from Sean Couturier right in front of Darling to tie it at 2. The tying score came after some near misses in the period for Philadelphia, as Jori Lehtera hit the post from close range and Voracek missed a golden opportunity from Darling’s doorstep two minutes later.
NOTES: Giroux has five goals and 10 assists during a nine-game point streak. … Aho extended his team-leading totals to 29 goals and 65 points. … Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere each had two assists.
Hurricanes: Host Tampa Bay on Saturday night to end regular season.
Flyers: Host Rangers on Saturday to finish regular season.
The Patriots’ loss in the Super Bowl likely will be the last game for New England’s two coordinators, both almost certain to be named head coaches elsewhere in the next few days.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels led a typical Patriots offensive showcase Sunday night, as New England gained 613 yards against Philadelphia. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was left answering questions on why his unit couldn’t stop Eagles, who gained 538 in the 41-33 victory.
McDaniels is believed to be the Indianapolis Colts preferred candidate for their head coaching opening Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jersey , while Patricia is expected to be take over the Detroit Lions.
They have already interviewed for the vacancies and spent the week leading to the Super Bowl shrugging off questions about the future.
They did the same again Sunday night, though each was noticeably subdued after coming up short in their bid to win back-to-back rings with the Patriots.
”I’m not talking about that tonight,” said McDaniels, who has served a total of nine seasons as Patriots offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick. ”I feel terrible for the guys in the locker room because they’re the ones that put in all that work.”
It would be McDaniels’ second head coaching job. He previously served as the Denver Broncos’ coach during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Following a stop in St. Louis as the Rams coordinator in 2011, he returned to New England in 2012.
Patricia’s star has been on the rise since he became New England’s defensive coordinator prior to the 2012 season. He has been with the Patriots since 2004, when he was hired as an offensive assistant.
This would be his first head coaching job.
”Right now it’s all about the game and Philly and my disappointment in the outcome of the game tonight,” Patricia said when asked about the Lions’ job. ”This is really a difficult game where you are kind of all in. We didn’t do a great job of trying to execute. There is only going to be one team that is happy in the end.”
He said he hasn’t begun to reflect on what he’s accomplished in New England, having been a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams.
”Not at this current moment. I just feel very bad for our guys John Elway Jersey ,” he said. ”I really wanted them to be put in a situation that allowed them to be successful in the game. Obviously we can go back and reflect at a later time.”
That time just may not be as a member of the Patriots’ staff.
Regardless of his future, McDaniels said Sunday’s loss was one of the worst he’s ever been through.
”You realize when you’re at this stage, there’s a lot of great players and coaches, and you never know when you’re going to get another opportunity. So it’s tough.”
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