(March 28, Philadelphia, PA) – Jeff Carter and Mike Knuble each registered three points and Martin Biron made 23 saves in leading Philadelphia to a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center.
The eventual game-winning goal came in the second period with the Flyers leading 1-0.
Rod Brind'amour's misplay during a Flyers power play led to the goal. The Hurricanes' captain was unable to clear the zone and Stefan Ruzicka picked up the loose puck. Ruzicka skated in on net and made a nice feed to Derian Hatcher in front of the net, and the Flyers' defenseman poked it through goaltender John Grahame at 7:55 for his third of the season.
An odd call by referee Wes McCauley resulted in a penalty shot by Carolina as it tried to get back into the game. A loose puck in the Flyers' crease was swept out by defenseman Lasse Kukkonen with his glove hand. McCauley ruled that Kukkonen closed his hand on the puck, but then did not whistle the play dead right away as the rulebook calls for.
Regardless, Martin Biron stopped Justin Williams with a glove hand to keep it 2-0 halfway through regulation in a key moment in the contest.
Carolina was able to cut that lead in half with just 3.7 seconds left in the second, when Ray Whitney's point shot deflected in off of Carter's stick. Three third period goals for the Flyers, however, helped to end Philadelphia's four-game losing skid.
Mike Knuble made it 3-1 at 3:55, when his backhand from a difficult angle beat Grahame for his 23rd of the season and first since returning from injury. Braydon Coburn's one-timer from Geoff Sanderson gave Philadelphia a three-goal cushion just over a minute later, while Jeff Carter's second goal of the game into an empty net in the final minute capped the scoring.
"We found a way to play a very solid 40 minutes and then it was up to us to stick to the game plan and I think we did that," said Biron of the third period.
"We have talked about the last seven games and how important it is for us to play hard. Every team we are playing has a real good possibility to make it to the playoffs so it is really a test for us," said John Stevens. "We are just looking for the type of competitiveness that comes with blocked shots and the type of energy and urgency that we played with tonight."
Biron, making his first start since signing a two-year extension with the Flyers, evened his record with the club at 5-5-1 since being acquired on February 27.
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead at 13:31 of the first period. A shot by Joni Pitkanen bounced around in front of the net and landed on the stick of Carter who fired it in on just the Flyers' second shot of the game.
A hit from behind on Denis Gauthier led to some rough stuff later in the frame. Craig Adams drilled the Flyers' defenseman from behind into the boards, forcing Gauthier to leave the game with a sprained right wrist. There was no penalty called on Adams, but Randy Jones was sent to the box for a double minor for jumping the Carolina winger. The Flyers were able to kill it off.
Philadelphia killed off five Carolina power plays and finished 1-for-4.
The Flyers face the New Jersey Devils at Continental Airlines Arena at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.
FLYERS NOTES The Flyers finished 2-1-1 against the Hurricanes this season. … Scottie Upshall missed the game with an upper body injury. … Philadelphia has six games remaining this season, including four at home.