On a night where Rod Brind'Amour had his jersey retired by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Flyers lost 3-2 on an Erik Cole goal coming with just over three minutes left in regulation.
A Blair Betts short-handed goal along with a Braydon Coburn goal in the third were the only tallies on the night for Philly. Sergei Bobrovsky saved 26 of the 29 shots he saw on the evening. The loss kept the Flyers from sweeping their four-game season series with the Hurricanes.
Perhaps flush with Brind'Amour's spirit and coming out motivated and charged in front of their home crowd, the Hurricanes dictated the play in taking the early lead. Chad LaRose opened the scoring four minutes and twelve seconds in with a deflection that found its way past Bobrovsky. Joe Corvo released a shot from the blue line that LaRose, who was standing to the right of Bobrovsky, was able to tip past Bob's blocker and into the net for his eleventh goal of the season. Trailing 1-0, the Flyers didn't see the end of the Hurricanes' early fury.
A little over two minutes later, the Hurricanes were able to capitalize on an odd man rush and a weak save attempt by Bobrovsky. Coming up along the boards to the right of the Flyers' net, Jeff Skinner entered the zone lining up a slap shot. As he released the shot, Bobrovsky dropped to his knees allowing the puck to hit the inside of his left leg pad and enter the net between his legs for a two-goal Carolina lead. Skinner's 22nd goal on the season was assisted by Jay Harrison and saw the Hurricanes early hustle pay off as they stunned the visiting Flyers with two early tallies.
The remaining time in the first period saw the Flyers slowly cool down the Hurricanes after their red-hot start. Despite Carolina receiving power plays for a roughing call on Scott Hartnell and a hooking call on Chris Pronger, the Flyers held the Hurricanes scoreless for the rest of the first period.
The beginning of the second period didn't start out too good for Philly, but thanks to a shorthanded snipe the Flyers were able to cut their deficit in half.
After Andreas Nodl went to the sin bin for hooking, Betts entered the offensive zone creating room for himself with a quick move towards the circle right of Cam Ward. Slightly inside the circle, Betts picked the top right corner before Ward's glove could snag the puck. Betts' short-handed goal was his 4th of the season and ended a 44-game goalless drought.
In the midst of the Flyers' surge to try and tie up the game, Ward made an amazing glove save on the penalty kill to keep his team up by a goal. After a shot from the point and a Ville Leino shot at the top of the crease, Ward found himself on his back just inside the right goal post. As the puck glided towards the boards to the left of Ward, Matt Carle pinched in and let a backhanded shot loose towards the net. Pushing himself up for a brief second, Ward was able to glove the puck on the goal line to prevent the power-play goal.
The save shifted momentum as Leino went to the box for slashing shortly after. A few minutes later, the Hurricanes pressure led to both Jody Shelley and Sean O'Donnell going to the sin bin for roughing. The 'Canes were unable to take advantage of a full two-minute 5-on-3 situation leaving the Flyers with one goal to make up with only the twenty minutes remaining.
Coming out rather emotionless to start the final period, the Flyers' first chances came on the period's first power play. With Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu in the box for charging, the Flyers were able to keep a constant stream of offensive pressure on Ward and company for the majority of the power play. Several slap shots from Pronger and some shots from the top of the crease couldn't result in the equalizing goal for the Flyers.
Just as it looked like the Flyers were running out of chances and about to hand the win to Carolina, Braydon Coburn stepped up with a huge goal late in the game.
After Leino created several chances down low, he sent a spin-o-rama pass from behind the net to Claude Giroux at the top of the crease who ended up being stuffed by Ward. The puck then leaked back towards the point setting up a shot for a pinching Coburn who put the puck through traffic and past Ward for his 2nd goal of the season. The goal tied the game up with just five minutes left in regulation.
The lead, unfortunately, didn't last long. Two minutes later the Hurricanes entered their offensive zone on a 2-on-1 led by Jussi Jokinen and Cole. As Jokinen passed the puck from the left circle to the right circle, Cole ripped home the game-winning goal passed a sprawled out Bobrovsky with just three minutes left in regulation.
Pulling Bobrovsky in the final minutes wasn't enough for the Flyers to tie up the game as they fell to the Hurricanes 3-2.
With Mike Richards out after warmups with flu-like symptoms and the Hurricanes' honoring Brind'Amour, the Flyers' troubles came with their inability the survive the early energy coming from the opposition. Unfortunately, two goals in the first seven minutes by Carolina forced Philly to play catch-up for the majority of the game. The Hurricanes win also kept them from being swept in their season series with the Flyers, going 1-3-0 against the orange and black in 2010-2011.
Playing an integral role in both of their trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, including their title run in 2006, Brind'Amour saw his Number 17 raised to the rafters tonight in Carolina as two of his former three teams (with the exception of the St. Louis Blues) met to play their final meeting of the regular season. He joined Ron Francis and Glen Wesley as the only players so honored by the WhalerCanes franchise.
Brind'Amour played 633 regular season games for Philly from the 1991-1992 season to January of 2000. He registered 238 goals and 366 assists, ranking ninth in club history in total points. In his 57 playoff games with Philadelphia, Brind'Amour scored 24 goals and had 27 assists while also playing an important role in the Flyers Finals' run in 1997, where he eventually led the club with 13 goals. He currently holds a franchise record with 484 consecutive games played.
Notes: Brind'Amour also won two Selke Trophies with Carolina (2006-07)…The Hurricanes had 7 power plays to the Flyers 3 power plays…The Hurricanes out shot the Flyers 29-23 tonight and out shot the Flyers in every period tonight (1st/8-6 CAR, 2nd/13-11 CAR, 3rd/ 8-6 CAR)…The Flyers went 3-1-0 against the Hurricanes on the season and are now 9-5-1 against the Southeast division on the season (TBL 1-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, CAR 3-1-0, ATL 1-0-0, FLA 2-1-0).