The Flyers closed out their regular season yesterday with a bang.
After falling behind 4-1 early in the second period, Philadelphia fought back behind goals from Kimmo Timonen, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier. With the game still tied 4-4 in the third period, Scott Hartnell was slash following a frozen puck by Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin. Hartnell responded, rather foolishly, by turning around and spearing Carolina defenseman Brett Bellemore.
Hartnell was given a five-minute major for spearing along with a game misconduct.
It is league policy that the NHL Department of Player Safety reviews all five-minute major calls. New Vice President of Player Safety Stephane Quintal, who has been in the role for about a week, reviewed the play and declared Hartnell will not be suspended heading into the playoffs for the spear but the 31-year-old forward will be fined $5,000.
The incident certainly was a point of conversation following the game. “You have to keep your emotions in check and you can't become a loose cannon out there,” Craig Berube said when asked about Hartnell’s spear. “You have to play the right way. You have to be intense, but you have to be smart.”
The Flyers must be breathing a little easier knowing Hartnell will be in the lineup for Game 1 against the New York Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The only thing they can do now is hope Hartnell can control his emotions better than he did on Sunday.