The Philadelphia Flyers were able to post a win in their first game since knowing they were eliminated from playoff contention, as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 on the road tonight. Wayne Simmonds recorded his first career hat trick and added on an assist, while Matt Read had a goal and two assists in the win.
Steve Mason earned the decision in the high-scoring affair, as he denied 26 of the Hurricanes’ 29 shots on net. Justin Peters lost with only 33 saves on 38 shots against.
“It felt pretty good obviously,” Simmonds said after his big night. “I feel like Scott Hartnell today.”
It was obvious a lot of Flyers’ fans were in attendance for the road game, but nothing proved the point that the Orange and Black supporters were there more than when several hats hit the ice following Simmonds’ hat-trick tally.
“It was pretty amazing because it seemed like there were more Flyers’ fans here than ‘Canes’ fans,” Simmonds said. “Even during that last [penalty kill] you could hear, ‘Let’s go Flyers.’ That was pretty cool.”
Philly opened the scoring with a breakaway goal from Jakub Voracek exactly seven minutes into the contest.
Claude Giroux hit Voracek at the Hurricanes’ blue line to spring him on a breakaway. The forward slid one through Peters’ five-hole for his 20th of 2013.
Jeff Skinner tied the game 6:18 later after a turnover from Danny Briere led to the forward’s 13th goal of the year.
As the puck was wrapped around the boards to Briere, who was along the boards to Mason’s right, the former Buffalo Sabre had the disc bounce off of his skate and towards the slot. Skinner picked up the loose puck in the faceoff circle to Mason’s right and beat the goalie to tie the contest at one.
The Orange and Black regained the lead within the first two minutes of the second stanza thanks to Simmonds’ first goal of the night.
Read carried the puck through the faceoff circle to Peters’ right before he backhanded a pass across the ice to Simmonds, who beat Carolina’s goaltender blocker side.
Justin Faulk tied the game at two off a shot from the point for his fifth of the season. Kevin Westgarth and Tim Wallace both recorded their first assists of the year on Faulk’s blast from the blue line that beat Mason 7:19 into the middle period.
Simmonds’ potted his second of the period just 1:14 after Faulk’s tally to restore the visitors’ lead.
After Sean Couturier fed Simmonds from the corner to Peters’ left, the former Los Angeles King blasted a shot from just inside the faceoff circle on the same side of the ice off the far post to make it 3-2 Philly to start the third period.
Simmonds didn’t waste any time getting the hat-trick goal in the third period, as his weak shot just 48 seconds into the final stanza beat Peters for his 15th of the season.
The forward carried the puck through the faceoff circle to Peters’ left before he finally let go off a wrister just above the goal line that glided under the goalie’s pads and to the back of the cage to make it 4-2 in favor of Philadelphia.
Eric Staal put home a rebound a little less than two minutes after Simmonds’ third goal, but Read made Philly’s lead two goals again with 13:57 left in regulation.
Tuomo Ruutu rocked a shot off the pipe and caused some confusion on the ice, as his shot seemed to have possibly crossed the goal line, but Read converted on a breakaway just 19 seconds later. The second-year forward put one through Peters’ five-hole to make it 5-3.
The tandem of Read and Simmonds nearly added on another goal in the final seconds of the game, but the tally was disallowed.
On an odd-man rush with Simmonds and Read, Simmonds threw a pass over to Read in the slot. After the disc hit off of Read’s skate, the puck looked to have crossed the goal line with about three-tenths of a second on the clock. However, it wasn’t awarded to the forward.
The Orange and Black return to action on Tuesday, as they host the Boston Bruins.
Notes: Tonight marked Simmonds’ first career hat trick and his first career four-point game. His only other multi-goal game and game with three or more points was in the Flyers’ 6-5 victory over the Penguins on February 20th, as he had two goals and one assist…Tonight was Read’s third three-point game of the year. He had a hat trick against the Florida Panthers on January 26th and a goal and two assists against the New York Islanders on February 18th…Voracek’s opening goal ended a Flyers’ goalless streak of 67:14. Voracek had the Flyers’ last goal with 14 seconds left in their win on Tuesday against the New York Rangers…Adam Hall took part in his 600th NHL game tonight. He finished with a hit and two shots on net in 9:51 TOI in his ninth game as a Flyer…The Flyers will finish 2013 3-0-0 against the Hurricanes. They were 3-1-0 last season against the Hurricanes…Philly will finish 9-5-1 against the Southeast Division (WSH 2-1-0, WPG 2-1-0, TBL 1-2-0, CAR 3-0-0, FLA 1-1-1). They were 11-7-2 against the Southeast last season (FLA 3-1-0, WSH 3-1-0, TBL 1-2-1, WPG 1-2-1, CAR 3-1-0)…The Flyers improved to 20-22-3. They were 27-14-4 after 45 games last season.