Personally, my only real requirement for today's hockey game was that the Flyers leave it without any serious injuries. There were a couple of scares on that front (namely, Claude Giroux blocking a shot in the third period and heading off the ice, before inexplicably coming back into the game), but it appears that we're ultimately all clear there. So today's a win on that front.
But even beyond that, the Flyers -- as they often do, for better or worse -- managed to make it a pretty fun game out there, recovering from a rough start to Cal Heeter's NHL career to tie the game after a 4-1 deficit, then tying the game again with nine seconds left on Wayne Simmonds' second goal of the day and career-high 29th of the season. They ultimately would go on to lose in a shootout, because of course they did, and that rounded out a rather unlikely sweep at the hands of the Hurricanes this year.
Of course, given that the Flyers clearly seemed to be using this game as a bit of an experimental one (a number of regulars were scratched, and other random guys were playing out of position and on different special teams units that they wouldn't otherwise) and that their playoff fates didn't change at all with it, the result isn't worth fretting over, and seeing this team come back from the dead as it's done so many times this year was pretty cool to watch. So yay.
THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
* Cal Heeter's NHL debut is probably not one that he'll remember too fondly, as he was beaten three times in the game's first 13 minutes including two goals he'd almost certainly like another shot at. Was hard not to feel bad for the guy making his first start, as he clearly seemed a bit nervous out there. He got better as the game went on, though, and it was nice to see the crowd support him the way they did after the rough start.
* The only possible subplot moving forward that we could see coming out of this game would be the disciplinary status of Scott Hartnell, who received five and a game with 6:51 remaining in the third period following a spear of Carolina defenseman Brett Bellemore (.GIF here). The penalty will be reviewed by the NHL, though it seems unlikely that any meaningful discipline (read: a suspension) will come of it. Still, pretty dumb thing for Hartnell to do, all things considered and given the circumstances.
* Related: That Hartnell penalty coincided with two minor penalties from two different Hurricanes players in an ensuing scrum, which meant that the Flyers proceeded to get a four-on-three power play for the two minutes immediately following the scrum and were then immediately put on a 4-on-5 penalty kill for three minutes as soon as that ended. NHL rules are weird.
* Jason Akeson, for the second straight year, looked like a good player in his first and last regular season game of the year with the Flyers. He put a beautiful pass right on Matt Read's stick to set up the first goal of the game, he saw time on both the power play and penalty kill, and he even got to take the first attempt on the shootout (which he, naturally, missed on). Apparently Berube hinted after the game that he could get a look at a roster spot in the playoffs, so whether he means that in terms of simply being a Black Ace/pressbox guy or being an actual player in the lineup, we'll probably find out soon.
* Sean Couturier's goal in the second period that tied the game up was purrrrrrrty (via @myregularface):
* Claude Giroux picked up an assist on Kimmo Timonen's second-period goal and ends the year with 86 points, which barring an insane night from Tyler Seguin tonight will land him in third place in the NHL in the year-end points totals. Not bad.
* Your Flyers award winners -- announced before the game began -- are at the bottom of this post.
* Playoffs, man. They start in four days. Feels like it's been too long, y'know?
Thursday in New York City. Get pumped, y'all. We may have some thoughts on it in the coming days, so stay tuned. Go Flyers.
* Bobby Clarke Trophy (team MVP)
* Toyota Cup (most "Three Stars of the Game" selections)
* Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy (most improved)
* Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award (for "character, dignity, and respect on and off the ice)
* Gene Hart Memorial Award (player with the most "heart")