It was not easy and it was a long time coming, but the Carolina Hurricanes finally defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in regulation, 3-2 on Friday night in front of a standing room only crowd at the RBC.
After a rousing and emotional ceremony for Rod Brind`Amour before the game, the Canes came out on fire and jumped to a 2-0 lead within the first seven minutes.
Chad LaRose tipped in a Joe Corvo shot to start things off at 4:12, then Jeff Skinner scored his 22nd of the season just a couple of minutes later when he blasted one through Sergei Bobrovsky.
The rookie goalie tightened up after that one though and kept the high-flying Hurricanes off the scoresheet the rest of the period.
The Flyers came out with more jump in the second and scored early in the period on a shorthanded goal by Blair Betts.
The Carolina powerplay was futile in this one as they went 0-7, including a full two minutes of 5-on-3. But their special teams were able to kill off a couple of key penalties down the stretch.
The visitors tied the score, 2-2 with about five minutes left in the game. The Canes were back on their heels a bit at the time after dominating much of the third period and the Flyers were putting on a lot of pressure and attacking more, including using a two man forecheck on the penalty kill as they frustrated the home team.
But with 3:03 left, Erik Cole would put in another game-winner as he was fed perfectly by Jussi Jokinen on a break. Eric Staal set up the play by winning a battle along the boards and getting the puck to Jokinen.
That one gives Cole a team leading seven game-winners.
This was a huge win as the team gained on the New York Rangers and pulled a bit further ahead of Buffalo.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- The Brind'Amour ceremony was about as good as one could ask for. The Captain said all the right things and John Forslund did his typical outstanding job as MC. The Hurricanes front office deserves credit. They really know how to do these types of things the right way.
- Cam Ward had another outstanding game. He absolutely robbed Matt Carle on one play as the defenseman backhanded the puck into what he thought was an open net. Ward was laying on the ice after a previous save, but still managed to glove the puck with a desperate swipe.
- The goalie at the other end of the rink looked pretty good too. The Canes could have easily been up 3 or 4 zip early.
- Jussi Jokinen looked good on the first line with Staal and Cole. This could be the combination that the coaching staff has been searching all season for.
- I thought the line of Tlusty, Sutter, and Samsonov had a great offensive night. Tlusty and Sutter especially created several scoring chances between them and did everything but score.
- These teams matched each other hit for hit as the Flyers had 37 while the Canes had 35. Erik Cole had 10 himself while LaRose had seven and Ruutu six.
- Carolina finished the game with 29 shots on goal, once again led by Cole who had five.
- The team blocked 27 shots compared to 17 for the Flyers. Patrick Dwyer had seven and Jamie McBain had five.
- Staal won 58% of his faceoffs but the team finished at 38%.
post game interviews: