The Carolina Hurricanes had their moments of good hockey Monday night, but ultimately it was the Philadelphia Flyers that capitalized on their chances in defeating the Canes 5-3 in Raleigh. Philadelphia's Claude Giroux (2 goals, 1 assist) and Jaromir Jagr (2 assists) continued their dominance against the Canes as the Flyers jumped out to a 4-1 lead before hanging on late to win for the fifth time in their last eight games. The Canes, on the other hand, have now dropped six of their last eight contests.
The Hurricanes started off slow and never fully recovered as they allowed the Flyers to skate out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period. Giroux snapped a shot past Carolina goaltender Cam Ward 1:19 into the game and newcomer Maxim Talbot punched in a shot off of a beautiful pass from Jakub Voracek from behind the net to double the lead.Jamie McBain coughed up the puck behind his own goaltender and the puck was in the back of the net before Ward knew what hit him. The Hurricanes did get a burst of energy as the clock dwindled down on the first period. With his team shorthanded, Patrick Dwyer finished off a give-and-go with Eric Staal to bring the Canes to within a goal, in a period that the Hurricanes had no business being even that close.
As the game wore on the Hurricanes seemed to get better. The second period started off with a few Carolina chances, but again it was Giroux to dash the hopes of the Carolina fans. Giroux finished off a three on two with a quick shot over the shoulder of Ward to again put the Flyers ahead by two.
The game might have shifted after that, as the Hurricanes were awarded a power play for the Flyers having too many men on the ice. That power play proved to be ineffective for the Canes as they weren't able to crack through Sergei Bobrovsky or the Flyers' defense. About a minute after that, the Flyers were awarded the same power play chance with Jeff Skinner going to the box. That power play proved to be more that effective as it took only 19 seconds forWayne Simmonds to tip a Giroux shot through the legs of Ward. The Flyers had a 4-1 lead and Ward was bounced from the game, with Brian Boucher coming in off the bench to relieve him.
As poorly as the Hurricanes played in the first 30 minutes of the game, they seemed to have turned around their play in the last half of the game.
Just over 12 minutes into the game Tuomo Ruutu finished off a beautiful passing play with Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen to give the Canes yet another glimpse of hope. Jokinen fired a cross-crease pass over to Ruutu who scored his third goal in the past two games.
As the third period unfolded, the Canes seemed to have a lot of fight and energy, but the Flyers' defense held strong, limiting the Canes to only 5 shots on goal. 3:24 into the final frame, Tim Brent was called for tripping. During the Flyers' power play, the Canes again generated decent pressure on Bobrovsky. Patrick Dwyer was hauled down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. Dwyer had never before been awarded such an opportunity, but he certainly made it count. Dwyer ripped his shot past Bobrovsky to bring the Canes to within a goal and electrify the RBC Center.
From that point on the Hurricanes continued to shoot themselves in the foot with three avoidable penalties. FirstTomas Kaberle took one for hooking, then seconds after the expiration of a power play, Alexei Ponikarovsky was whistled for interference. Lastly, Tuomo Ruutu was called alongside Andrej Meszaros for hooking. With the constant parade to the penalty box, it was difficult for the Canes to generate a lot of momentum. Then it was rookie Matt Readwho punched in a another beautiful pass from Voracek, delivering the biggest knock out blow to the Canes.
The Canes will get little time to rest as they now must get ready to travel to Montreal to take on the CanadiensWednesday night.
It was a great night for the Canes in the faceoff circle as the team won 42 of 71 draws (59%). Eric Staal led the way with a 73% night, followed by Jokinen at 68% and Brent at 63%. The lowest average on the team was Sutter who still had a respectable 41%.
After leading the league in +/- early on in the season, Tim Gleason's rough stretch continued tonight. His -2 tonight brought him back down to an even rating, as he has been a minus in three of his last four games.
Carolina was 4-5 on the penalty kill, but did score two shorthanded goals (both by Dwyer, one being the penalty shot), but 0-4 on the power play.
The line of Zach Boychuk - Jiri Tlusty - Zac Dalpe had the best seats in the house for tonight's game. The trio saw a combined 10:53 of ice time (led by Tlusty's 4:19 and anchored by Dalpe's 2:41). 29 players for either side had more individual ice time than those three did combined.