Goals by Jeff Carter and Danny Briere led the Flyers to their third straight win. After forty scoreless minutes, both of the Flyers goals along with Tuomo Ruutu’s goal for the Hurricanes came in the final period of regulation. The win pushes the Flyers to 36-13-5 on the season.
The game started out just like the Flyers had planned. With Brett Carson going to the box for high-sticking Mike Richards 1:16 into the game, the Flyers powerplay had a chance to score on the league’s 23rd ranked penalty kill. The opportunity went to waste as a lone Kimmo Timonen shot was the only thing the Flyers could produce with the man advantage.
After the Flyers applied a good amount of pressure throughout the opening period, the Hurricanes had their chance in the closing minutes of the period. Daniel Carcillo was called for interference with about two minutes left in the period and the ‘Canes powerplay was knocking at the doorstep. Several chances resulted in nothing for Carolina, but it did help to kill the momentum Philly had gained earlier in the game.
A slow, boring period worked to the Hurricanes advantage. Playing a team they have had difficulty playing this year, Carolina came out buzzing in the second period. The few minutes of fury by the Hurricanes’ offense resulted in nothing more than providing Claude Giroux with a lower body injury benching him for a few minutes. Giroux returned later in the period.
It didn’t take the Flyers long to respond as they shifted the offensive tide about five minutes into the period. Good pressure by James van Riemsdyk and Nikolay Zherdev resulted in Ryan Carter taking a roughing penalty on JVR behind the net. The call could have gone either way, but the Flyers received the fortuitous assessment.
Cam Ward kept the game scoreless as he made a save on a Carter shot through traffic on the powerplay. Moments later, Timonen ended the Flyers’ powerplay by interfering with Patrick Dwyer after the puck bounced past him at the blue line. The time spent 4-on-4 was uneventful as well as Carolina’s shortened powerplay that followed.
Neither team took hold of the second half of the second period, but the Hurricanes did have the opportunity to take the lead with multiple Flyers going to the penalty box. After Richards went to the box for slashing Jeff Skinner, the Canes inept powerplay saw another attempt one minute after Richards returned to the ice. Carolina’s man advantage due to a Briere hook on Joe Corvo only lasted a minute before Ruutu went to the sin bin for slashing Timonen.
The second period ended with a Giroux check on Chad LaRose along the boards to the right of Brian Boucher. While carrying the puck between the left circle and side boards, Giroux saw LaRose charging at him and promptly knocked him to the ground. Doesn’t sound like a thrilling play, but up to this point in the game it was the play of the night.
With 41 seconds remaining on Ruutu’s penalty, the Flyers were able to break the scoreless tie. Picking up a Chris Pronger drop pass, Richards entered the zone over the middle of the blue line before passsing it to Carter who was standing at the top of the right circle. Carter let a wrist shot fly aimed at the top of the net finding its way past the goal line after hitting Cam Ward’s glove.
Carter’s 26th goal of the season gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 18 seconds into the final period.
A few minutes later, Braydon Coburn was able to get under Skinner’s skin goading him into a charging call. Two shots were registered, but the Flyers were unable to find a goal with the power play. Despite not capitalizing on the man advantage, the Flyers started demonstrating puck possession before the Canes were called for yet another penalty. A Brandon Sutter tripping penalty gave the Flyers another chance to extend their lead.
The second goal in this low scoring affair was scored by Briere halfway through the period. A beautiful passing play led to Briere roofing the puck on Ward as he dropped to his knees before Briere released the shot. Andrej Meszaros passed the puck from the left boards cross ice to Scott Hartnell along the blue line who then passed it to Giroux just inside the top of the left circle. Catching the puck on his backhand, Giroux switched the puck to his forehand and worked his way to the slot where he then dished it to Briere. With only the top part of the net available, Briere was able to find an opening and give Philly the 2-0 lead.
The comfort of a two-goal lead lasted all of forty seconds before Ruutu cut the lead to one.
A bad neutral zone turnover by Blair Betts led to Chad LaRose taking the puck into Carolina’s offensive zone. LaRose’s rebound led to Ruutu putting in his own rebound as Darroll Powe attempted to push him over at the top of Boucher’s crease. Ruutu’s 13th goal on the season gave the Hurricanes hope as they only trailed by a goal with a little under eight minutes to play.
The Hurricanes spent the remaining time making a last-ditch effort to tie the game, but they were unsuccessful as Philly held on to win 2-1. In his first game against Carolina this season, Boucher made 31 saves on the 32 shots he saw during the game. The lone goal he allowed on the night could have easily been prevented if he had received a little more help from his defense.
Until Carter’s goal opened the last period, the game had been very boring and uneventful. Not only were there no goals, there were also no scoring chances, big hits, big saves, or fights. Nothing memorable occurred in the first forty minutes.
Knowing their opposition’s weakness, the Flyers were able to score both of their goals on the night when Carolina had a man in the penalty box. Presented with six openings, Philly’s power play found the back of the net twice in the third helping to lead their team to victory.
Notes: Boucher was less than 8 minutes away from getting the Flyers’ first shutout on the season…The Flyers are the only team left in the NHL to have not blanked an opponent…In their last 18 games against the Hurricanes, the Flyers are 15-0-3…The last time the Flyers lost to the Hurricanes in regulation was their 2-1 loss on 12/19/06…Philly improved to 3-0-0 against the Hurricanes on the season and 7-4-1 against the Southeast division (TBL 0-3-0, WSH 2-0-1, CAR 3-0-0, ATL 1-0-0, FLA 1-1-0).