RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The team with the fewest penalties in the NHL played a near-perfect game. But all it takes is a few mistakes against the streaking Philadelphia Flyers to cost you a game.
That's what happed to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night as Simon Gagne scored a power-play goal with 1:19 left as the Flyers extended their winning streak to six with a 4-3 victory.
Carolina entered the game with the league's best home penalty-killing unit, but the Flyers, No. 1 on the power play, scored on their only two man-advantage chances in the game's final 10 minutes to grab the victory.
"We needed that power play to get us going," said Rod Brind'Amour, who scored on the power play with 9:42 left to tie it at 3-3. "Our team has been like that all year on the power play."
Gagne's eighth goal and first game-winner for the rookie center came on a rebound and with Carolina's Tommy Westlund in the penalty box for charging.
"You hate to think the ref gave them a chance to win the hockey game," said Carolina's Gary Roberts, called for a 10-minute misconduct for arguing with referee Richard Trottier as the game ended. "That's the way it looked."
An apparent game-winning goal by Westlund with 2:50 remaining was waved off by Trottier. He said Westlund interfered with Flyers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck as he was poking at the puck in the crease.
"I can't believe that you could make that call at that time of the game," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "Tommy (Westlund) had the right to go after the puck in the crease.
"He (Trottier) just makes them up as he goes," added Maurice. "You can use any explanation that you want tonight because there can't be a logical one. Maybe aliens came down and took over his helmet."
Roberts scored his 300th career goal with 12:43 left as Carolina took a 3-2 lead. Roberts scored on a back-hander in the slot off a pass from Jeff O'Neill to become just the sixth NHL player to score 300 goals and log 2,000 penalty minutes.
But Carolina's first lead of the night didn't last long.
Brind'Amour picked a rebound out of the air to tie it 3-3 three minutes after the Roberts' go-ahead goal. Gagne then scored the game-winner as the Flyers improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven games.
"It was a good effort when we got down to stay with it," Brind-Amour said.
The teams exchanged three goals in a three-minute span early in the second period after the Flyers had a 1-0 lead.
Martin Gelinas tied it when his wrist shot beat Vanbiesbrouck high on the stick side.
Forty-six seconds later, Philadelphia regained the lead when Eric Lindros lost Ron Francis behind the net and fed John LeClair in the slot. It was LeClair's 24th goal.
Then, with Lindros off for elbowing, Andrei Kovalenko threaded a shot between Vanbiesbrouck's pads and the post for his ninth of the season and third in three games.
The Flyers wasted little time getting on the board, scoring on their first flurry in front of Arturs Irbe. Valeri Zelepukin put in a rebound just 1:09 in.
The Hurricanes managed just two shots on Vanbiesbrouck in the opening 20 minutes. That came on the heels of a two-shot third period against the Flyers in a 4-1 loss Nov. 11 -- the last meeting between the clubs.
CAROLINA HEAD COACH PAUL MAURICE:
On the game:
“We played a hell of a hockey game tonight. We played great. We came out of the first period where they really came at us, I thought we weathered the storm. Archie some key saves. Boy after that first period we played about as well as we can possibly play. We put pucks in the net, scored four, scratch that three.
On the end of the game:
“But it’s just a disgrace to happen at a level this high. In the National Hockey League to have something like that happen at the end of the game. When you get the color guy from the Flyers TV saying (On Westlund’s penatly), “They can’t find the penalty, they can’t find the penalty. Oh my God that push from behind is a two minute penalty.’ That’s interesting. You get a pretty good idea exactly what kind of call that was. I have no explanations for it.”
“Any time in the year, we’re battling for our lives every game. You get the Flyers 3-3, you score a goal that should be a goal, and then to have that happen, that’s just a disgrace. It’s a spit in the face to every guy on our bench. To Gary Roberts for the effort, the way that line played. That wasn’t an easy game for our hockey team. That was a big, strong, physical game. I don’t know what the hits were. A guy keeps stats he has 50 hits after two periods, now at that point if that was an infraction based on everything else, I must have slept right to the last two minutes of that game. I can’t believe that you can make that call at that time in the game. Someone hitting from behind shouldn’t be in the league. Absolutely, you have to take care of the players. The guy didn’t even fall. If anybody saw it differently, feel free.”
On the disallowed goal:
“He said (Westlund) pushed the goaltender in the net. But from our vantage point, the puck was in at that point. He has the right to go after the puck in the crease. He just makes them up as he goes.”
“You can use any explanation that you can possibly think of tonight because there can’t be a logical one, so fire away.”
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS ASSISTANT COACH CRAIG RAMSAY:
(Neilson was unavailable for personal reasons)
On why there wasn’t a penalty on the goaltender interference (disallowed goal):
“I don’t know I really can’t answer that. It looked like he put his stick at the rebound and shoved the goaltender into the net. I think that’s why he was attempting to blow his whistle right away once he saw that. We looked at it on the tape. There’s no question he appeared to be pushing the goalie's feet. I don’t think it was worth a penalty. You can’t push the goalie into the net when he’s got a hold of the puck.”
On the charging call on Westlund:
“From the bench it looked like he hit him pretty good. Roddy wasn’t looking and he hit him from behind. You couldn’t tell how hard it was due to the crowd and the boards or what he hit. But it was a hit from behind and it’s something you have to call, it’s so close. It’s surprising maybe at times when you see it called. In this case he felt obviously that it was warranted.”
On why Neilson was upset about the Roberts goal:
“It looked like they had iced the puck. Unfortunately I think our bench was yelling icing, it appeared that he shot it from their side of the red line. But you can’t go by that, you have to finish that play out, especially when you don’t hear a whistle. I think you want to go get that puck even if you think it is icing and try to control it.”
On whether he thought they would ever get a power play:
“It looked like it was going to be one of those shutout nights. But we felt that with our style, it’s hard to play us without getting a penalty because we can hold the puck a lot and cycle down low and then take the puck to the net. Sooner or later a team tires and you catch them tired or at the end of a shift or something happens and finally there is a penalty. There have been some nights this year when we haven’t drawn any, but generally we tend to draw penalties.
Summary-----------------------------Philadelphia 1 1 2--4Carolina 0 2 1--3----------------------------- FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Philadelphia, Zelepukin 5 (Mccarthy,Langkow), 1:09.SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 2, Carolina, Gelinas 5 (Ranheim, Kron), 2:08.3, Philadelphia, Leclair 24 (Lindros, Jones), 2:54. 4, Carolina, Kovalenko9 (power play) (Kron, Coffey), 5:55. Penalties: Lindros, Phi (elbowing),4:17.THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 5, Carolina, Roberts 9 (Oneill, Francis), 7:17.6, Philadelphia, Brind'amour 5 (power play) (Renberg, Recchi), 10:18. 7,Philadelphia, Gagne 8 (power play) (Lindros, Leclair), 18:41. Penalties:Mcgillis, Phi (cross checking), 1:30; Kapanen, Car (hooking), 8:52;Zelepukin, Phi (hooking), 10:49; T Westlund, Car (charging), 17:37;Lindros, Phi (cross checking), 18:41; Roberts, Car (misconduct), 20:00.Shots on goal:---------------------------------Philadelphia 11 7 10--28Carolina 2 12 9--23---------------------------------
Power-play Conversions: Phi - 2 of 2, Car - 1 of 4. Goalies:Philadelphia, Vanbiesbrouck (23 shots, 20 saves; record: 18-9-5).Carolina, Irbe (28, 24; record: 14-14-7). A:11,609. Referee: Trottier.Linesmen: Broseker, S Provost.