Scoring goals continues to not be a problem for the Carolina Hurricanes eight games into the season. Preventing them, however, continues to be a puzzle the Canes have yet to solve.
Behind a game-winning shorthanded goal eight minutes into the third period from Brandon Manning and 26 saves from Michal Neuvirth, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Hurricanes 4-3 in front of 10,353 at PNC Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Shayne Gostisbehere opened the scoring for Philadelphia (4-5-1) with 2:03 remaining in the first period off a redirection by Brett Pesce in front of his own net. Both of Gostisbehere’s goals this season have come against Carolina (2-4-2), and the goal was his seventh point in six career games against the Hurricanes.
Justin Faulk tied the game a minute into the second period, a seeing-eye shot that Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth never saw through a Lee Stempniak screen at the top of the crease. After Radko Gudas scored to put the Flyers back on top at 7:07, the Canes scored twice within 1:44 to take their first lead.
Jeff Skinner kicked a puck to himself and beat Neuvirth through the five-hole at 10:13, then Viktor Stalberg took advantage of a bobbled puck by Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov and took off on a breakaway, beating Neuvirth at 11:58 through the legs again.
With an assist on Skinner’s goal, Victor Rask set the Hurricanes record for consecutive games with a point to start a season. Rask now has points in eight straight games, and now trails only Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis, who set the franchise record in Hartford with an 11-game streak to start the 1984-85 season.
The Canes’ lead wouldn’t last to the second intermission, though, as a defensive breakdown left Flyers captain Claude Giroux unchecked between the circles and Wayne Simmonds found Giroux, who wristed one high over Cam Ward’s glove.
A Provorov hooking penalty proved fortuitous for the Flyers with 12:00 remaining. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare forced a turnover at the blue line, and Noah Hanifin lost track of Brandon Manning streaking through the neutral zone. Bellemare found him, and Manning made no mistake, scoring his second goal of the season, a shorthanded marker at 8:00. Like fellow defenseman Gostisbehere, both of Manning’s goals have also come against Carolina.
The loss was the Canes’ second straight to the Flyers, who also took a 6-3 decision in the penultimate game of the Canes’ season-opening road trip last Saturday. The teams will next meet at PNC Arena on Tuesday, January 31, their third of five meetings this season.
Rank the performances
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.