With their playoff fate already decided, the Philadelphia Flyers’ biggest concern Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes may not be the final score but the status of their No. 1 goaltender.
Steve Mason figures to be rested for the regular-season finale as the Flyers gear up for the postseason.
The Flyers (42-30-9) are assured of opening a first-round matchup against the New York Rangers on the road after their 4-3 overtime victory against Pittsburgh on Saturday locked them into third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Mark Streit scored in overtime after Jakub Voracek tallied twice in regulation to give Philadelphia its third win in four contests following a season high-tying four-game losing streak.
"We wanted that third spot and we got it," Streit said.
Mason stopped 21 of 22 shots over the first two periods before he was replaced at the start of the third by Ray Emery. Mason was held out as a precaution after sustaining an upper-body injury when he was bowled over late in the second by Pittsburgh’s Jayson Megna, who failed to stop while streaking to the net.
Flyers coach Craig Berube said he expects Mason to be fine, though any injury to him would be difficult to overcome.
Mason has been outstanding since the start of February, going 13-4-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average and two shutouts. He’s also been very good against the Rangers this season, winning two of three starts while allowing six total goals.
Emery is 1-3-1 with a 2.97 GAA in his past five appearances.
Captain Claude Giroux scored his team-leading 28th goal Saturday, giving him three goals and three assists in his last three games.
While Philadelphia may not have a 30-goal scorer this season, it will finish as the league’s only team with seven players to reach 20. Wayne Simmonds (27), Voracek (23), Matt Read (21), Scott Hartnell (20), Vincent Lecavalier (20) and Brayden Schenn (20) have all already hit that mark.
Sunday’s game will close a disappointing season for the Hurricanes (35-35-11), who will miss the playoffs for a fifth straight year.
Carolina does have an opportunity for the franchise’s first season sweep of Philadelphia since 1991-92, when the then-Hartford Whalers took all three meetings.
The Hurricanes have three one-goal victories against the Flyers, including a 3-2 road win Jan. 22 in the most recent meeting. Carolina had been 2-11-4 in the previous 17 matchups.
One lengthy drought came to an end Friday with the Hurricanes’ 2-1 victory in Detroit, their first regular-season win there since Nov. 14, 1989. Elias Lindholm and Jiri Tlusty scored in the first and Cam Ward made 28 saves to help Carolina snap a three-game skid.
"You feel good that we were able to erase that record and come up with a win," Ward said.
Ward hasn’t faced the Flyers this season, while Anton Khudobin owns two of the wins with a 1.50 GAA.
Carolina’s Jeff Skinner has matched his career high with 31 goals despite missing 11 games with injuries.