Brad Malone notched his first goal of the season and Eric Staal scored in his third straight game to lead Carolina to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Friday at PNC Arena.
A little two-for-one here to kick things off: Claude Giroux was very close to having his season end Friday when Justin Faulk's skate accidentally cut the Flyers captain’s left leg. But there is good news on many fronts.
1. Giroux was not seriously injured thanks to the Kevlar socks he was wearing. The socks are worn for just such a reason, and both Giroux and the Flyers were spared his loss thanks to the protective equipment.
2. It's good to see players being proactive about their well-being. I'm unsure when Giroux started wearing the Kevlar socks, but it's not a bad assumption to think he may have done so after Ottawa star defenseman Erik Karlsson was lost to an Achilles tendon tear on a skate cut nearly two years ago. To bring it back around to the Carolina side of things, remember that both Eric and Jordan Staal decided to begin using face shields after brother Mark, a Rangers defensemen, was hit in the eye with a puck and injured. For all the talk about how players cast aside their well-being out of convenience, it's refreshing to see team leaders like Giroux and the Staals taking advantage of modern technology to protect themselves. In Giroux's case, it's easy to see why it's the right choice.
3. The two Staals looked dominant Friday. Is this the latest tease of a return to form for the two brothers, or is it for real? Both seem happy and healthy, and they outclassed the Flyers duo of Giroux and Jakub Voracek — two of the NHL’s top scorers — to lead the Hurricanes to a win. Jordan is providing a net-front presence on a consistent basis, while Eric is skating as well as he has in two seasons and has been a force in the corners while playing on the wing. There's no improbable playoff run in store for 2015, but if they can contribute like this against better competition — let's face it, the Flyers are a mess in their own end — Carolina may have found the best possible running mates for both players.
Number To Know
212 — Games since Jay McClement took two separate minor penalties in one game, a streak broken when he was whistled for multiple minors Friday against Philadelphia. McClement was last called for two different infractions on Dec. 23, 2011, as a member of the Colorado Avalanche: facing the Lightning, he was called for hooking in the first period and then a tripping infraction in the second, both on Dominic Moore. McClement did receive four penalty minutes on Jan. 18, 2012, but that was for a double minor for high sticking.
Brad Malone — It was less than a week ago when I wrote about Malone’s unfortunate streak: coming into Friday's game, Malone had not only failed to register a point in 27 games this season, but he had not been on the ice for a Carolina goal. Malone took care of all those issues Friday, burying a glove high shot over Steve Mason on a 2-on-1 rush to notch his first goal and point of the season, also both firsts with the Hurricanes. The goal gave Carolina a 1-0 lead and set the tone for the night — and it ended Malone’s run at infamy.
Jay McClement — A heady player like McClement doesn't often take two unnecessary penalties in a night. But McClement was guilty of both a delay of game (puck over the glass) infraction and a high sticking minor Friday that gave the Flyers’ lethal power play two chances to strike. Fortunately, the Hurricanes penalty kill continued its great play and prevented a special teams goal.