Flyers 5, Hurricanes 3
Wayne Simmonds sure hasn't given up even though the Philadelphia Flyers won't be in the postseason.
Simmonds scored three goals for his first career hat trick and added an assist as the Flyers showed plenty of energy in a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night in a matchup between teams recently eliminated from playoff contention.
''We played strong right from the start,'' Simmonds said. ''We have it in our minds that we're going to play until the last minute.''
Jakub Voracek and Matt Read also scored for the Flyers, who won for the third time in four games. Steve Mason, playing his fifth game for the Flyers since being acquired from Columbus, made 26 saves.
''The experience we're getting right now is invaluable,'' Mason said of the last week of the season.
Simmonds, playing in his 364th career game, also had his first four-point effort.
Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk and Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes, who lost for the ninth time in their last 10 home games.
The Flyers were playing for the first time since they were eliminated from postseason contention.
''We didn't even speak about being eliminated from the playoffs,'' Simmonds said. ''We have a great young core in here and want to play strong down the stretch.''
The Hurricanes were knocked out of the playoff chase during their previous game based on another result, so it was their first full game out of the playoff pursuit.
With a good number of Flyers fans in attendance, Simmonds' third goal at 48 seconds of the third period extended Philadelphia's lead to 4-2 and drew a couple dozen hats to be thrown onto the ice. Simmonds said he kept two of the caps.
However, Staal scored nearly 2 minutes later to pull Carolina within one.
The Hurricanes appeared ready to pull even when Riley Nash's redirect hit the post. The Flyers recovered and Read, who had two assists, scored on a breakaway at the other end at 7:03.
''That's what we have to learn is to be mentally ready every night,'' Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. ''We didn't have that tempo that we should.''
Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said with the Flyers out of the playoff mix it remains important to wrap up the season on a strong note.
''I think it's good for confidence,'' he said. ''The guys went out and the played hard. . We have to finish the season. We need to play every game and make it count, make it matter.''
Mason said he's becoming more comfortable with his new team.
''It was a tough game to play because pucks were bouncing,'' he said. ''It's a good test.''
It was a busy night for Carolina goalie Justin Peters, who made his career-high seventh consecutive start and finished with 33 saves.
The Flyers applied early pressure, posting the game's first eight shots on goal. Voracek made it 1-0 with his 20th goal of the season at 7:00 of the first period.
''It was kind of a crazy game with a lot of odd-man rushes,'' Voracek said. ''A lot of pucks went in, which is good.''
Skinner responded with an unassisted goal directly off a Philadelphia turnover to tie the score with 6:42 remaining in the opening period.
Simmonds regained the lead for the Flyers less than two minutes into the second.
Faulk's second goal in three games at 7:19 of the middle period came when the Flyers failed to clear the zone again.
Simmonds put Philadelphia ahead for good 1:14 later as the Flyers swept the teams' three-game season series.
Read assisted on two goals. He nearly was credited with a second goal with less than a second to play, but a video review of the sequence wiped out the goal because of a kicking motion.
NOTES: Simmonds has two multi-goal games this season, both on the road. ... Voracek has three goals in the last four games. ... Skinner was back in Carolina's lineup a game after he was held out for precautionary reasons for a head injury. ... Faulk, a second-year defenseman, played in his 100th NHL game. ... The Flyers have 12 goals within the first minute of a regulation period this season. ... Carolina enforcer Kevin Westgarth notched his first point of the season, with an assist in his 29th game. .. The Hurricanes are 42-44-15 in one-plus season under coach Kirk Muller. ... The Flyers play two of their final three games at home.