It wasn’t the prettiest win, but it was a win nonetheless.
The Carolina Hurricanes overcame a two-goal deficit and blew a two-goal lead Tuesday night in PNC Arena, but ultimately beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 thanks to an overtime winner from defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
The Flyers opened up the scoring less than a minute into the game, and went up 2-0 midway through the first period. Carolina battled back with four unanswered goals, before letting the Flyers score two straight to end regulation.
However, it was Hamilton who played the hero, as he took on three Philadelphia defensemen and wristed a great shot into the net to end the night.
Dougie Hamilton's shift in overtime was phenomenal. An All-Star caliber effort for his 14th goal of the season, the game-winning goal in a must-win divisional game. pic.twitter.com/l6sh56TXZ0— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 8, 2020
After making 10 straight starts on the road, James Reimer was in between the pipes for the Canes at PNC Arena for the first time since the beginning of November. Reimer didn’t have his best outing, stopping 17 of 21 shots faced as he let in some easy ones. In the other net, Brian Elliott stopped 28 of 33 shots faced.
After an all-around ugly first period of hockey from both teams, things were knotted up at 2-2. Neither team looked super sharp to start the game, and there were a lot of turnovers, bad bounces and misplayed pucks during the opening 20 minutes.
The Flyers started out the scoring just 37 seconds into the game on a goal that Reimer will certainly want back. Travis Konecny fired a fairly routine shot towards the net, and the puck slipped under Reimer’s arm and into the net to make it 1-0.
After a couple more sketchy moments from Reimer, the Canes bounced back and got a flurry of chances, which included an ambitious but ultimately empty between-the-legs shot from Andrei Svechnikov. The chances for Carolina didn’t come to fruition, though, and Philadelphia made it 2-0 after a bad mistake from the Canes.
Haydn Fleury tried to clear the puck out of Carolina’s defensive zone, but instead threw it straight into the chest of Jakub Voracek. Voracek collected it and passed it off to Michael Raffl, who deked past Reimer to double the Flyers’ lead.
Carolina was quick to respond to Philadelphia’s second tally, as Lucas Wallmark cleaned up a rebound to cut the lead to 2-1. Brock McGinn brought the puck into the offensive zone and fired a weak backhand at Elliott, who couldn’t control the rebound. Wallmark picked it up and slotted it past Elliott for his fifth goal in the last 10 games.
Lucas Wallmark goes to the net and puts the puck in the net. Brock McGinn centered it for Wallmark's 9th goal of the year (he scored 10 all of last season). Hurricanes on the board against the Flyers. pic.twitter.com/JSYjwxIJns— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 8, 2020
Jordan Martinook was credited with the secondary assist on Wallmark’s goal, marking the 100th point of his NHL career.
The Canes tied things up at 2-2 later in the period, as Carolina captain Jordan Staal made an absolutely brilliant play with the puck to set up a goal for Warren Foegele. Staal skated to the circle from behind the net, and fired a bullet across the ice to Foegele, who roofed the shot past Elliott for his ninth goal of the season.
Warren Foegele ties the game off an absurd pass from Jordan Staal. Great play, 2-2 game between the Hurricanes and the Flyers late in the first period. pic.twitter.com/c2wZiGYIrh— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 8, 2020
The Hurricanes quickly took control of the game in the second period, scoring twice in the first five minutes of the middle frame. Both goals came on bombs from defensemen, with Jake Gardiner blasting the first past Elliott off an assist from Sebastian Aho. With an assist on the Foegele tally and his second-period goal, Gardiner picked up his first multi-point game as a Hurricane Tuesday night.
Jake Gardiner tees it up and puts it top shelf. A howitzer for his 3rd goal of the season. Sebastian Aho with the pass to set it up. pic.twitter.com/7y6CrG14F1— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 8, 2020
A minute and a half after Gardiner’s goal gave the Canes a 3-2 lead, Joel Edmundson blasted one from the point to make it 4-2. The goal was Edmundson’s fourth of the season, and came with some help from Erik Haula screening in front of net.
Big Goal Joel. A long-range dart from Edmundson. Erik Haula with the net-front. 4 unanswered goals for the Hurricanes, who now lead 4-2 over the Flyers in the second period. pic.twitter.com/jWO6avohh5— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) January 8, 2020
The Flyers stopped Carolina’s run of four unanswered goals late in the second period, as Nicolas Aube-Kubel cut Carolina’s lead to 4-3 with his second goal of the season. It was another Canes’ turnover that led to the Aube-Kubel goal.
The Canes caught a break early in the third period, as a pretty early whistle from the officials kept the Flyers off the score sheet on a power play. Svechnikov went to the box after an undisciplined slash, and the Flyers had a close call. Reimer made the initial save, but dropped the puck, which went under him and stopped dead on the goal line.
The whistle blew the play dead before a Flyers player tapped the puck in. After a review, the “no goal” call on the ice stood. Hurricanes’ defenseman Jaccob Slavin may have been in position to clear the puck out if not for the whistle, but either way the Hurricanes were fortunate for the quick stoppage.
The Flyers would get their game-tying goal much later in the third period, as Travis Sanheim scored with just over four minutes to play to tie things up at 4-4. Sanheim skated out from behind the net essentially unimpeded, and slotted it through Reimer’s five-hole to even things up.
Hamilton netted his game winner to give the Canes an important two points, moving them two points ahead of Philadelphia in the wildcard race.
The Hurricanes’ home stand will continue Friday night, as they host the Arizona Coyotes and new forward Taylor Hall.
They Said It
(On the Canes’ bad start): Yeah, it was a tough start obviously. I think there were a couple of weird goals. Give the guys credit, though, nobody on the bench was hanging their heads or anything. They just thought about getting it back. I think that first goal was really important. As soon as they got their second one, we answered right back. So, that kind of got us back in the game.
(On Dougie Hamilton’s game winner): We do have those players now that we didn’t have in the past. They have that ability. They’re game changers.
(On James Reimer’s performance): He wanted to have a couple of those back, for sure. I haven’t talked to him, but I know that first one he didn’t like. He did, at times where we were kind of running around, made a few saves for us.
(On Justin Williams returning): There’s no adjustment, because we know what he is. He’s been here. He’s a Hurricane. I don’t think it would be any adjustment if that happens. It would be an adjustment for him just to get back up to speed.
(On the win): Yeah, it’s big obviously. We know how close the standings are, and where they are. A couple teams are right behind us, so we know how important these points are at this point of the season. We’ve got to play better, and we did get big points. But, we’ve got to bear down and play better right now.
(On a Flyers’ defenseman not having his stick on Hamilton’s goal): I didn’t know until I turned the corner, and he didn’t have his stick. I was going to try and deke him, but I could really deke him so I just wanted to see if I could get it in there without his stick. I got a shot through.
(On Justin Williams coming back): We’d be thrilled and really, really excited if he does come back. We know how good of a player he is, how good of a person, leader, everything. So, we’ll see what happens.
(On the win): We’re happy to get the two points there, but that’s not the way we’re supposed to play. It’s pretty evident for everyone watching that we’re not playing the way we know we can. We kind of got lucky there. We’ve got to get our mindset to winning for the next couple of games and get back to playing the way we know we can.
(On Justin Williams returning): It’d be great. There’s so much that he brings to this dressing room that I’ve talked about a lot last year. But also he works so hard on the ice. It would be great to add more depth to our lineup.