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Game Analysis: Flyers At Hurricanes

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Carolina’s five-game home stand hit its second bump in two games, with the Hurricanes relinquishing a two-goal lead again and falling in overtime, 3-2, to Philadelphia.

Cam Ward gave up the overtime winner for the second time in as many games, and now has lost three straight and four of five for Carolina.
Cam Ward gave up the overtime winner for the second time in as many games, and now has lost three straight and four of five for Carolina.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes jumped out to a two-goal lead again, but Philadelphia came on strong to force overtime, then Jakub Voracek got his first goal of the season during 3-on-3 play to give the Flyers the win, 3-2, and the extra point in the standings. The OT loss is Carolina’s second straight to start a five-game home stand, and the team is now 6-9-2 with 14 points.

Three Observations

1. Eric Staal has quietly heated up the since the calendar turned to November. Staal has points in five of six games this month — only getting shutout when his entire team did against the Rangers — and added two more assists Saturday to bring him to 12 points through 17 games. Those aren't gaudy numbers (about a 58-point pace), but Staal has been producing much more since he had four games in a row without a point last month.

2. Jordan Staal scored. Jeff Skinner scored. And now, Elias Lindholm scored. The Hurricanes seem to snapping droughts left and right in recent games. Both Staal and Skinner have played well since breaking through in the goal column — Skinner, in particular, has been an issue for the opposition of late — and hopefully Lindholm can follow suit after opening the scoring for Carolina Saturday. It goes without saying that the Canes need all their offensive weapons firing to have any chance at being in the playoff conversation come 2016. That's not the case yet, but if the Staals continue to produce, Skinner finds a little puck luck, and Lindholm can pot 20 goals this season, the Hurricanes have the defensive system to win games on a nightly basis.

3. Ryan Murphy struggled Thursday vs. Minnesota, but he was missed after he left Saturday’s game following a hit from behind by the Flyers’ Ryan White. White was penalized and the Hurricanes converted the ensuing power play, but Carolina’s defense crumbled against Philly’s vigorous forechecking the rest of the way. Down to five players, Carolina jumbled pairings looked out of sync following Murphy’s injury, and the Flyers managed 14 of their 19 shots on goal after he left.

Number To Know

8 — Hits by Joakim Nordstrom, a team high for Carolina and one less than game leader Radko Gudas. The Flyers are, historically, a physical team, but the Hurricanes didn't back down when Philadelphia upped the ante Saturday. The Canes actually finished with more hits than the Flyers (31-27). Nordstrom did his damage in just 14:09 minutes of ice time (one second less than his season high), and Jordan Staal joined the hit parade with five.

Plus

Noah Hanifin — Yes, the defense had a hard time holding off an attacking Flyers offense the final 25 minutes of the game, but Hanifin had perhaps his best overall game of his young career Saturday in the loss. Hanifin looked like he might get his first NHL goal in the final period, playing with confidence in the offensive zone (his six shot attempts were second on the team only to Justin Faulk, who had eight), and he was also on the ice for Carolina’s power play goal in the second, though he didn't factor in the scoring.

Minus

Cam Ward — Ward didn't see much rubber in the game’s first 35 minutes, but his inability to track Luke Schenn’s shot on Philadelphia’s first goal seemed to swing the momentum in the Flyers’ favor. Ward make a couple of big stops, but any time you allow three goals while facing just 19 shots, it's a night to forget.