The Flyers celebrate after scoring in the second period of their 6-5 loss to the Hurricanes. The Flyers and Rangers open their first-round playoff series on Thursday. (Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography)
The Flyers 6-5 loss in a shootout to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday hardly mattered.
Half of the regular lineup didn't play in the Flyers first chance to rest up for the playoffs. A rookie goalie made his debut and it featured traidtional ups-and-downs.
Usually Morning After is about the game that was just played. But instead of looking back, we're looking forward. The playoffs are upon us and the Flyers run to the Stanley Cup will be underway in a couple days.
Early in the second period of the Flyers final regular-season game, Carolina led, 4-1. The Flyers scored three goals in the second to even the score. When the Hurricanes took a 5-4 lead with under seven minutes to play, the Flyers once again managed a late goal with nine seconds left to even the score.
"We talked about how this is a setup to the playoffs," Matt Read said. "We have to find the right way to play hockey, play as a team. Play defense first. In the first period we didn't do that. We came in here and we talked about taking care of our defensive zone and moving from there. Those three quick goals helped us a lot."
The Flyers five goals were scored by regulars. Read scored the first goal late in the first. Kimmo Timonen and Wayne Simmonds scored 10 seconds apart in the second to start the comeback. Sean Couturier scored on a breakaway to even the score in the second. Simmonds also added the equalizer in the closing seconds of regulation.
“We wanted to play the right way,” Couturier said. “In the playoffs, you want to have good habits going in, and I think we battled back pretty good.”
"We skated and we were competitive the whole game,” head coach Craig Berube said. “Even when we were down, guys battled back and did a good job. We were just looking for good habits and skating. I thought that they did that."
The Flyers get to face a New York Rangers team that has had their number in Madison Square Garden all season and for three years now. The two teams split the season series, 2-2, with both teams winning each of the home games. The Flyers could be playing four games in New York if necessary.
“It’s a good thing we are due in Madison Square Garden,” Jake Voracek said after Saturday's win over the Penguins. “I don’t think we won there in three years. Since I've been here, we haven’t won there."
“That’s one season and it’s over now,” Berube said. “The other one starts Thursday. The intensity level really has to rise. Every player. When the playoffs roll around, the intensity is magnified by 100."
Thursday starts that next test and the next season for the Flyers. The Flyers can't afford a slow start against the Rangers. Pending how the Flyers play to start the series, it could be an exciting series
“It’s going to be a good series,” Claude Giroux said. “They’re an offensive team, a real fast team, and a good challenge for us. Starting in their building, it’s going to be key for us to play our best hockey right away.”
Game 1 of the Flyers-Rangers first-round playoff series is on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.