RALEIGH, N.C. _ It didn't count as his first NHL goal, but Nick Cousins converted his initial shootout chance as the Flyers ended the road portion of their schedule Saturday.
"Obviously it's pretty exciting to be chosen. I'll take it," Cousins, a 21-year-old rookie center playing in his seventh NHL game, said after the Flyers' 3-2 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. "I just tried to go down there with a bunch of speed and slow down. He (goalie Cam Ward) bit on my move. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win."
The Flyers, who overcame a listless first period, managed to send the game into overtime on Sean Couturier's goal with 1:50 left in regulation.
"But it comes down to a shootout, a skills competition," Cousins said. "It was a tough one to take."
The Flyers are 3-11 in shootouts this season and an NHL-worst 30-62 in franchise history.
Cousins said he was a "little surprised" that coach Craig Berube picked him for the shootout. "He said my name, and I sort of had to double-check to make sure he was calling my name," he said.
Berube said he decided to change things up because the Flyers have struggled to score in shootouts. Their shooters were just 11 for 50 (22 percent) entering Saturday
Cousins was 1 for 4 in shootouts with the Phantoms this season and just 2 for 14 in his AHL career.
Flyers shooters are now 12 for 53 (22.6 percent) in shootouts, while opponents are 21 for 51 (41.2 percent).
Cousins said he is getting antsy to score his first REAL NHL goal.
“For me it’s just bear down around the net, shoot the puck a little more,” he said. “I thought I had some chances tonight and I actually could have shot the puck. So I think if I shoot the puck a little more and get a little bit of puck luck, I’ll be fine.”
Road horror. The Flyers finished with a 10-20-11 road record (see story). At home, they are 21-9-7.
"It's been two different stories for us at home and the road," losing goalie Ray Emery said. "I think that's pretty much the difference in our year. I don't know why, but you put that in the past and learn from it."
Breakaways. The Flyers host the slumping Penguins at 12:30 p.m. (note the time change) Sunday. Pittsburgh, 3-6-1 in its last 10 games, still hasn't clinched a playoff spot…Michael Del Zotto had a pair of assists and has five helpers over his last four games…..Pierre-Edouard Bellemare blocked four shots and excelled on the PK….The Flyers have had a franchise-record 26 games go beyond regulation this season…..The Flyers outhit the Hurricanes, 55-25. Zac Rinaldo (8 hits) and Brandon Manning( 6), Brayden Schenn (5), Michael Raffl (5) and Matt Read (5) led the way…The members of Claude Giroux's line were each minus-2.