Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Eric Staal scored twice in regulation and contributed the lone goal in the shootout, as Carolina claimed a 6-5 victory over Philadelphia in a spirited season finale for both clubs.
"Disappointing, is the bottom line. It's always more fun to win. But, it doesn't change the fact that we're not going to be going to the playoffs again," Staal admitted. You wish things could've been different, but they're not. You try and learn from it the best you can. Be better when you wake up tomorrow, and look forward to the days ahead."
Jeff Skinner also lit the lamp twice, Manny Malhotra added a score, with Mike Komisarek, Jiri Tlusty and Justin Faulk contributing two assists each for the Hurricanes (36-35-11), who ended their season with two wins after dropping three in a row.
Anton Khudobin stopped 39 shots for the win, his 19th of the season.
Wayne Simmonds picked up a pair of goals for the Flyers (42-30-10), who rallied from a 4-1 deficit but slide into the postseason having dropped six of their last nine. Sean Couturier, Matt Read and Kimmo Timonen added a goal apiece in the loss.
Cal Heeter endured a rough first NHL start, allowing five goals on 38 shots plus Staal's snapshot which ended the first round of the tiebreaker.
"Well in my dreams I'd say I didn't give up six goals, but it's a fabulous experience," said Heeter despite the loss. "I've been working my whole life to get to here and to finally get the opportunity to play a game and to have the support of the management, coaches, players, the fans, and everybody here to get out there and get a chance to perform to my highest level. It's a dream come true."
Skinner scored on Carolina's first shot of the game, just 2:07 in, a rising wrister from the right circle. Staal doubled the Hurricanes' edge at 8:31 with a shot that trickled through Heeter's pads.
Read's one-timer from between the circles off a Jason Akeson dish halved the hosts deficit just before the midway point of the first, but Malhotra scored on the short side from the left wing to cap a 2-on-1 break and the 'Canes were up 3-1 at 12:32.
Staal provided a 4-1 cushion for the visitors on another shot through Heeter's five hole only 17 seconds into the second.
Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey was sent off for tripping Scott Hartnell into Khudobin, thereby negating a possible goal just after the 11-minute mark and Timonen's rip from the point on a power play brought the Flyers within 4-2 at 12 minutes even.
Only 10 seconds later, Simmonds converted a Tye McGinn pass for a one-goal spread.
Couturier then knotted the score with 4:28 left before intermission, a clean breakaway which saw him beat Khudobin inside the left post after several dekes.
During a power play created when Hartnell was given a major for spearing and a game misconduct, the Hurricanes took a 5-4 lead with 4:21 left in regulation, as Skinner followed the puck after Heeter made a sliding stop on Andrei Loktionov, and flipped it into the open net.
Heeter was on the bench for an extra attacker when Simmonds had position on the doorstep to convert a Mark Streit rebound with 9.5 seconds showing.