On a night when the best defenseman in club history, Mark Howe, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes conducted a hockey game in which Howe would not feel out of place.
He’d be content with the results — a 5-3 Philly victory — as well as the tenor of the action which included a pair of short-handed goals and a penalty shot sandwiched between generous bouts of offense.
Ultimately, it was rookie Matt Read who put the capper on the victory, as his tip-in goal with 3:51 to play in regulation provided the necessary insurance.
Claude Giroux netted a pair of goals with an assist and was robbed of a hat trick in the best way possible. Chris Pronger put together a solid night with three assists, while Max Talbot and Wayne Simmonds also hit the net for the Flyers, who won on back-to-back days and finished 2-0-1 on their spin through the Southeast.
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed three goals — including a penalty-shot score — on just 20 shots, but made key saves when he needed to earn the victory.
He outdueled Cam Ward, who was pulled in the second period after being dented for four goals on 17 shots. Brian Boucher made another appearance against his former club, finishing with 10 saves on 11 chances but allowed Read’s tally.
Patrick Dwyer tallied twice and Tuomo Ruutu added another goal, but Carolina fell to 2-5 in November.
Dwyer capitalized on a mental mistake by the struggling James van Riemsdyk to get the home team within one goal.
As van Riemsdyk fumbled the puck at the point on a power play less than five minutes into the third, Dwyer stepped up and swatted the puck away. Speeding past a backchecker, Dwyer and a teammate eventually had a two-on-none break by the time they reached the Flyers’ defensive zone. Dwyer was dragged down from behind to save a potential goal, but the obvious hook created the free shot.
Dwyer stayed to the forehand and stuck a shot just below Bobrovsky’s glove at the 4:36 mark to make it a 4-3 contest.
From there, the visitors killed off a Carolina advantage, then saw a power play of their own cut short when Simmonds was whistled for a slight check to the back to Jeff Harrison in front of the net.
Enter Read to put an end to the drama.
Jakub Voracek took a Pronger feed and broke down the left wing, a step ahead of a Hurricanes defender. He waited until reaching the bottom of the circle before dishing across for Read’s tap-in through Boucher’s legs.
A scary moment followed when Read spun out of control thanks to a hit as he shot, and crashed chest-first into the boards. He left the game briefly but was shown to be working out the kinks on the bench.
But the undisciplined kinks in the Flyers’ play flared up once more with 1:08 to play as Andreas Lilja tripped up Calder winner Jeff Skinner. Even with the goaltender pulled, Bobrovsky was not tested over the final portion of regulation.
The win marked the 16th for the Flyers in their last 19 matchups with the Hurricanes, who are fourth in the Southeast Division.
Things started out on a good note for Philadelphia, which took a 2-0 edge before the nine-minute mark of the opening period.
First, Giroux netted his 10th of the year thanks to a slick lead pass by Jaromir Jagr. The pride of Hearst, Ontario rolled in alone and beat Ward high to the glove side just 68 seconds in.
Then, Voracek emerged from a scrum behind the Carolina net and found Talbot alone in the slot, where the former Penguin one-timed his sixth of the season at 8:50.
Sloppy play in the attacking zone on a man advantage allowed the ‘Canes to cut their deficit in half, as Eric Staal hit Dwyer in stride up the middle, and his shot slid into the net for a short-handed marker with less than one second remaining.
It was 3-1 for the visitors at 2:45 of the second as Giroux outwaited a Carolina defender and Ward, scoring high to the glove side from the left circle, and Giroux was then denied his trifecta on a power play after his shot from an almost identical location managed to hit Simmonds’ pants as he provided a screen at 6:57.
That spelled the end for Ward, and Boucher got the nod. Carolina’s play immediately picked up, and the reward came when Ruutu slid a shot by Bobrovsky with 7:59 to go in the middle stanza.
Notes: The Flyers have won eight of their last nine games in Raleigh, outscoring the Hurricanes by a 35-16 margin…Giroux notched his first multi-goal game since November 13, 2010 in Florida…It was also his sixth multi-point effort this season…Voracek and Jagr each added two assists…Simmonds and van Riemsdyk both finished a team-worst minus-2…Bobrovsky has faced three penalty shots and has allowed three goals…Dwyer netted his first two goals of the season, notched his first-ever two-goal game, and scored on his first career penalty shot.