It’s only November, so you might be able to excuse Peter Laviolette’s club if they underperform in a relatively meaningless early-season home game.
Still, it was hard to fathom that the Carolina Hurricanes came into Philadelphia and laid a 4-2 licking on the Flyers Monday night.
After all, the ‘Canes played on Sunday night (a 3-2 win over Toronto) and traveled north less than 24 hours later. But without the services of Chris Pronger (virus) and Braydon Coburn (upper-body injury), the visitors were able to put a stranglehold on the game early and hang on for the victory.
Alexei Ponikarovsky netted a pair of goals, Chad LaRose picked up a goal and two assists, and Jeff Skinner also scored as the Hurricanes recorded just their second win in their last 12 games against Philly.
Matt Read notched a goal in his fifth consecutive game, but the Flyers dropped their second straight game after Ilya Bryzgalov allowed all four scores on 31 shots.
Ponikarovsky put the Hurricanes up at the 13:42 mark, when he tapped in a LaRose dish from the left side that managed to slip underneath a sliding Kimmo Timonen for a power-play score.
It was 2-0 for the visitors with just 15 seconds left in the first as Skinner juked his way through the offensive zone and slid a shot home for his ninth of the season.
James van Riemsdyk halved the home team’s deficit with a brilliant individual effort, snaking his way from the left circle in front and pushing his own rebound past Cam Ward at the far post with 1:34 played in the second.
But the momentum was short-lived after LaRose roofed a shot from the slot at 3:37.
Read once again provided a spark to the passionless home crowd at the 12:24 mark as he stood alone at the left pipe to slam home a van Riemsdyk feed during a power play.
The 25-year-old came within one game of Mikael Renberg’s 1994 rookie streak of six straight games with at least one goal, but it was the closest the Flyers came to assuming control.
Ponikarovsky tallied his second of the contest with 1:27 to play in the middle period, and Ward made the two-goal margin hold up by making seven of his 30 stops in the third period.
Notes: This was Carolina’s first win in Philadelphia since a 3-2 overtime decision on November 28, 2008…Ponikarovsky hadn’t registered a multi-goal effort since January 19, 2010 at Atlanta when he played for Toronto…Philly hadn’t dropped two in a row since October 26-27 at Montreal and home against Winnipeg…To fill the roster spots, the Flyers recalled defensemen Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall from Adirondack of the AHL, and temporarily loaned Harry Zolnierczyk to Trenton of the ECHL to be cap compliant.