Game Analysis: Hurricanes At Flyers

For the second straight night, the Carolina Hurricanes carried the play and came away with a win, knocking off the Flyers, 4-2, in Philadelphia Monday night. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Chad LaRose each had three points, and Jeff Skinner added another highlight to his growing reel of awe-inspiring goals to lead the Canes to the win.

Carolina is now tied for 13th in the Eastern Conference with Winnipeg with 19 points, but have already played an NHL-high 22 games.

Three Observations

1. With the pairings of Tim Gleason-Bryan Allen and Jay Harrison-Justin Faulk performing well, one has to wonder what move the Canes will make when Joni Pitkanen returns to the lineup. Both Jamie McBain and Tomas Kaberle are playing their best hockey of the season the past two games, but one can't help but feel like Faulk has earned a spot in the lineup and that either Nos. 4 or 51 will be the odd-man out. The Canes would surely like to add another point-producing winger into the mix, so a trade is not out of the picture, but finding a taker for Kaberle or parting with McBain both seem like tough propositions.

2. Skinner's spin-o-rama goal was a thing of beauty. Not only did Skinner execute the move and finish it off with a goal, he did it against one of the most underrated defensive players in the game, Kimmo Timonen. What else is there to say? Amazing.

3. Few teams have had success against Cam Ward like the Flyers have, but on Monday the Carolina goaltender stood his ground and got his fifth win in 16 career games against Philadelphia. Ward was a huge part in the Canes getting wins on back-to-back nights, but more importantly the team in front of him gave him a chance to win by committing to defense and also giving him goal support.

Number To Know

4 — Hurricanes goals McBain was on the ice for Monday. He finished with no points, but was a plus-2 and made a spectacular cross-ice pass during the sequence that led to Ponikarovsky's second goal. McBain hasn't registered a point in six games, but he's now finished eight straight games as a plus or even player after putting up a minus-4 against Washington on Nov. 4.

Plus

Alexei Ponikarovsky — Ponikarovsky registered his first multipoint game as a Cane, scoring twice and adding an assist for his first three-point night since Dec. 7, 2009, when he was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ponikarovsky is never going to make his living with dazzling plays or fancy passes, but within eight feet of the net he is near impossible to move and has a knack for putting the puck in the net. He now has five goals on the season, which projects out to 18 or 19 for the season — numbers that will work for the Canes if he continues to contribute off of the first line.

Minus

Anthony Stewart — We've been here before, but Stewart's inability to carve out a bigger spot in the Canes' lineup is one of the big disappointments of a season that has had a lot of them through 22 games. He played just 4:36 Monday, a season-low in his 18 games played, and came up goose eggs on the score sheet. The question remains: What came first, the chicken (little production) or the egg (not much playing time)?

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