Flyers try to avoid season series sweep vs. Hurricanes
(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-bound Philadelphia Flyers will cap their regular season on Sunday, as they host the Carolina Hurricanes for an afternoon battle at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers clinched a postseason berth earlier this week and on Saturday locked up third place in the Metropolitan Division, meaning Philadelphia will begin the playoffs on the road against the New York Rangers. It will be the first postseason series between the rivals since the 1997 Eastern Conference finals, when Philly beat New York in five games.
Philadelphia earned its playoff date with the Blueshirts after posting a 4-3 overtime win in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The victory eliminated Columbus from the race for the Metro's third seed.
Mark Streit's errant pass hit the back of the net with 2:50 remaining in OT to cap a wild game Saturday at Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center.
The Flyers defenseman skated up the right wing, in a 2-on-2 with Sean Couturier trailing on the opposite side. Streit attempted to backhand the puck across ice, but the disc deflected off a Pens defender's stick then found its way through Marc-Andre Fleury for the game decider.
"It was another big game, it's always a big rivalry," Streit said.
Jakub Voracek netted the first two goals and Claude Giroux the other in regulation for the Flyers. Giroux gave Philly a 3-2 lead with 1:15 left in the third but Kris Letang evened the score for Pittsburgh just 38 seconds later.
Steve Mason started the game for the Flyers and stopped 21-of-22 shots before leaving after 40 minutes due to an upper-body injury. Ray Emery came on in relief and picked up the win after allowing two goals on 14 shots.
Flyers head coach Craig Berube called the move to take Mason out of the game "precautionary" and said he expects the club's No. 1 goaltender to be ready for Game 1 against the Rangers.
Emery, however, will start Sunday's game. He is 5-0 with a 0.73 goals against average and .977 save percentage in his career against the Hurricanes.
Carolina will miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season, but the club did pick up its first regular-season win in Detroit in over two decades on Friday. Elias Lindholm and Jiri Tlusty scored first-period goals as the Hurricanes held off the Red Wings, 2-1.
Cam Ward stopped 28-of-29 shots for the Hurricanes, who won in Detroit for the first time since Nov. 14, 1989, when the franchise was still known as the Hartford Whalers.
The victory also halted a three-game slide and came one day after Carolina's 5-2 home loss against Washington.
"It was a solid effort," captain Eric Staal said. "We needed to respond after last night's game."
Carolina will try to end its 2013-14 schedule by completing a series sweep of the Flyers. Carolina is 3-0 against Philly this season after losing four straight in the series heading into the campaign.
The Hurricanes are 2-1-1 over their last four games in Philadelphia, but the Flyers have won eight of the past 10 encounters in the City of Brotherly Love.
04/13 10:50:44 ET