Hurricanes 4, Flyers 3: Flyers Stumble Early Again in Season Finale

BOX SCORE 

A tumultuous 2018-19 season ravaged by regression and firings came to an end Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers lost, 4-3, to the Hurricanes.

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After throwing themselves into the playoff race with an 18-4-2 stretch from Jan. 14 to March 11, the Flyers (37-37-8) stumbled out of contention with a 3-10-0 finish.

The Flyers' 82 points are their fewest in a full season since 2006-07, when the team was dreadful and went 22-48-12 for 56 points.

The Hurricanes (46-29-7), led by former Flyer Rod Brind'Amour, are headed to the postseason for the first time since 2009.

• Oskar Lindblom, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers.

Lindblom, a 22-year-old rookie, scored 17 goals in his first full season and took off after earning a larger portion of the pie under interim head coach Scott Gordon. He has 20-goal potential, impressive for a fifth-round pick.

Konecny matched his career high of 24 goals set last season but there's no denying he was inconsistent. When he's going, he's a game-breaker. When he's not, he blends in.

Important to remember: Konecny turned only 22 years old last month. How quickly the Flyers turn things around will rely heavily on the 2015 first-round pick's production.

Couturier finished with a career-high 33 goals after breaking out in 2017-18. Since the start of that season, he has 64 goals, the same number as Penguins star Sidney Crosby. Couturier is one of the few certainties for general manager Chuck Fletcher.

• The Flyers should be thankful for Carter Hart, who picked up the loss in his 30th start.

The 20-year-old breathed life into the season and provides optimism for the future. He went 16-13-1, lending much-needed stability to a situation that saw the Flyers play eight goalies, an NHL record for one season.

The injuries and netminders weren't the only problems, either.

The Flyers were far too shaky in front of the goalies. Is it personnel? Is it coaching?

The answer will be clearer in 2019-20.

• Mark Friedman, a 23-year-old defenseman, made his NHL debut in the loss. He played 12:33 and didn't look out of place.

He should be a solid call-up option next season (see story).

• The Flyers once again fell behind early and went into first intermission trailing 3-1.

They finished the season with a minus-31 goal differential in the first period, worst in the NHL.

The starts of games will have to be addressed in 2019-20.

• A look at the Flyers' unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents heading into the offseason:

Brian Elliott, G - UFA
Michal Neuvirth, G - UFA
Cam Talbot, G - UFA
Corban Knight, F - UFA
Phil Varone, F - UFA
Jori Lehtera, F - UFA
Scott Laughton, F - RFA
Travis Konecny, F - RFA
Ryan Hartman, F - RFA
Justin Bailey, F - RFA
Ivan Provorov, D - RFA
Travis Sanheim, D - RFA

• The Flyers handed out their annual team awards before the game (see story).

• Fletcher enters his first offseason as Flyers general manager. He'll have his work cut out for him. The Flyers fell well short of expectations and haven't made the postseason in consecutive years since 2010-12, when they last won a series.

Cleanout day is Sunday afternoon for the players.

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