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Recap: Canes Overcome Flyers in Overtime

Hamilton scores OT winner

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Dougie Hamilton scored his 14th goal of the season to propel the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-4 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Canes scored four straight goals to erase an early two-goal deficit, but the Flyers forced overtime after tying the game late in the third.

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday night in Raleigh.

1. Big Points …

Having dropped five of their last seven games, the Hurricanes needed two points, especially against a divisional opponent hot on their tails in the standings.

So, two points - even if they had to work out of another early hole, even if they gave up a point in overtime, even if it took overtime in the first place - was paramount and the biggest takeaway from this game.

Video: PHI@CAR: Mrazek, Reimer wrestle in Storm Surge

"It's big. We know how close the standings are," Hamilton said. "We know how important these points are at this point in the season."

2. … But Need Better

But, the Hurricanes are also cognizant of the fact that they need to be better.

"We've got to play better than we did, but those are big points," Hamilton said. "We've got to really bear down and make sure we're playing better."

"We've got to get back to playing our identity," Warren Foegele said. "That's playing fast and hard and making the right decisions at the right time."

It took the Flyers just 37 seconds to strike first, with All-Star Travis Konecny slipping one through James Reimer's blocker arm. About eight minutes later, the Canes failed to clear the zone, and Michael Raffl scored to make it a 2-0 game.

"It was a tough start, obviously. A couple of weird goals," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I give the guys credit, though. Nobody on the bench were hanging their heads or anything. We were just talking about getting it back."

After the Canes rallied to score four in a row and take a two-goal lead, the Flyers got one back in the second period when Nicolas Aube-Kubel snuck a puck through Reimer. And, with 4:11 remaining in regulation, Travis Sanheim skated out from behind the net and into the slot before firing one five-hole to tie the game and force overtime.

"It was sloppy for us. You're going to get scored on, but you always want to make the other team really earn their goals. It didn't feel that way. A lot of turnovers and just kind of a little bit of sloppy coverage. It's not how we want it to be done," Brind'Amour said. "Not that we were bad tonight, but we need to be better, for sure."

3. Dougie Wins It

Just give it to the All-Star and let him go to work.

In overtime, Sebastian Aho dished the puck off to Dougie Hamilton near the far point. Not being pressured, Hamilton coasted with it to the near side, where he then spotted Sanheim defending in the slot without a stick. Hamilton faked the shot, drew closer to Sanheim and fired a shot through two pairs of legs - first Sanheim and then Brian Elliott.

Video: PHI@CAR: Hamilton goes five-hole for OT winner

"It's a sense of relief," Foegele said. "We still had that belief even though we were a little bit loose. That was a huge play by Dougie. There's a reason he's an All Star."

Hamilton finished the night with two points (1g, 1a) and now has 39 points (14g, 25a) through 43 games this season, already matching his total from 82 games a season ago.

4. Four in a Row

When these two teams met in this building in November, the Hurricanes scored on their first two shots of the game to take a 2-0 lead, though that disguised the fact that they didn't have their best effort in an eventual 5-3 loss.

Tonight, a 2-0 deficit might have suggested a similar poor start, but the Canes weren't all that bad in the first period. A couple bounces didn't go their way, but they were able to get the game tied up before the intermission.

Just 43 seconds after the Flyers took a 2-0 lead, the Canes got on the board. Brock McGinn powered his way to the net, and Lucas Wallmark cleaned up the rebound.

Video: PHI@CAR: Wallmark skillfully collects rebound, scores

"That first goal was really important," Brind'Amour said. "As soon as they got their second, we answered right back. That got us back in the game."

Wallmark now has 10 points (5g, 5a) in his last 10 games, this after he posted 10 points (4g, 6a) in his first 33 games this season.

Later in the period, Jordan Staal used his big frame to initiate the game-tying goal sequence. He protected the puck and skated it out from behind the net before slinging a cross-ice pass to Warren Foegele's tape. Foegele finished for his ninth goal of the season.

Video: PHI@CAR: Staal perfectly sets up Foegele

"To be successful in this league, he understands how he has to play," Brind'Amour said of Foegele, who finished with two points (1g, 1a). "He drives the bus. He has to be on pucks. He has to be in on the forecheck. Doing all the little things. He's playing with top players, and he's producing."

Video: PHI@CAR: Gardiner hammers slap shot for go-ahead goal

The Canes then scored two goals in the span of 1:45 early in the third period, both from the blue line. Jake Gardiner ripped his third of the season at the 3:12 mark, and then Joel Edmundson bombed a shot from downtown to put the Canes up a deuce.

Video: PHI@CAR: Hamilton sets up Edmundson's one-time tally

5. He's Back

It had no relation to the game or its outcome, but some news was made official shortly after the final horn: Justin Williams is back, having signed a one-year deal for the remainder of the season.

Reports and rumors swirled and built all night, but the signing was not confirmed until after postgame media availabilities in the locker room. So, players reacted in the hypothetical that Williams would return.

Hamilton: "We'd be thrilled and really, really excited if he does come back. We know how good of a player he is, person, leader, everything."

Foegele: "It'd be great. So much he brings to this dressing room. … He works so hard on the ice. It'd be great to add more depth to our lineup, for sure."

Brind'Amour: "There's no adjustment because we know what he is. He's been here. He's a Hurricane."

Much, much more coming Wednesday (and beyond), with a press conference featuring the newest-yet-still-so-familiar Hurricane, President and General Manager Don Waddell and Owner Tom Dundon slated for noon.

Up Next

The Hurricanes close out their season-long, seven-game homestand with a weekend back-to-back set against Western Conference opponents. Arizona is in town on Friday, followed by Los Angeles on Whalers Night on Saturday.

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