Flyers top Hurricanes for eighth straight win, move into tie for first
Pull away with two goals in 26 seconds in third period, gain in Metropolitanby Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers moved into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division with their eighth straight win, 4-1 against the Carolina Hurricanes at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Sean Couturier scored 26 seconds apart in the third period for Philadelphia (40-20-7), which has its longest winning streak since it won eight in a row from Jan. 14-Feb. 4, 2019. Carter Hart made 28 saves.
The Flyers are tied for first in the division with the Washington Capitals, who they defeated 5-2 on Wednesday.
[WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Flyers highlights]
"It just shows our hard work is coming together," said Scott Laughton, who had two assists. "Season's not over yet, there's a lot of hockey to be played. Can't have a letdown, especially with how tight the division is. We have to continue to look up and not back."
Video: CAR@PHI: Aube-Kubel scores from sharp angle
Justin Williams scored for Carolina (35-25-5), which has lost four games in a row (0-3-1) and is three points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Alex Nedeljkovic made 28 saves.
"Just wasn't good enough," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "To me, at the start we didn't have the edge we needed to play with. That's why we're losing."
Williams scored to get Carolina within 2-1 at 2:55 of the third period.
Video: CAR@PHI: Williams buries feed from Staal
Aube-Kubel scored from a sharp angle to give Philadelphia a 3-1 lead at 4:28, and Couturier popped the rebound of a Jakub Voracek shot over Nedeljkovic's glove at 4:54 to make it 4-1.
"Puck's bouncing at the blue line, we backcheck, we get sticks on it, puck finds a way to find their guy backdoor (on Williams' goal)," Couturier said. "We didn't deviate from the way we want to play. The next line went out there and gained momentum again. That just shows the maturity of our team."
The Flyers have a plus-25 goal differential in the third period this season (85-60) after they were even in the third last season (90-90).
"If you look at our lineup this year compared to other years, we're maybe a little more experienced," Couturier said. "We've got some young guys that are taking big steps forward, maturing in their game. It just shows the evolution of our team over the past few years. I just think we're more responsible with our decisions. We've just got to keep doing that."
Brind'Amour said he could feel the Hurricanes going the wrong way after Williams' goal.
"The next shift after it, we had two turnovers again in the neutral zone ... we just didn't do it right after we scored," he said. "We got away from how we were playing. It's unfortunate. It was our younger guys too. They're trying hard, just that's where they've got to buckle down a little better."
Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said the veterans are to blame too.
"We've got to be better, to a man, including myself," he said. "It's got to be more, and we need everyone. We need the whole team ready to go and engaged, right from the start."
Ivan Provorov scored on his own rebound to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead with 1:37 remaining in the first period.
Video: CAR@PHI: Provorov backhands rebound past Nedeljkovic
Michael Raffl took a centering pass off the rush from Tyler Pitlick and scored to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 9:34 of the second.
They said it
"We have to play desperate hockey, find a way to claw back into it. That's the reality of it." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour
"That's definitely the response that we were looking for as a group. Talk about building, talk about growing, that's the response we needed right there (after Justin Williams scored for the Hurricanes to make it a one-goal game). Not to play on our heels but to go north-south, and that's what we did. Capitalized on one of their mistakes and made a great play on our fourth goal." -- Flyers coach Alain Vigneault
Need to know
The Flyers have scored at least four goals in eight consecutive games, their longest streak since doing it nine in a row from Jan. 7-24, 1993. ... Voracek has eight assists during a four-game point streak ... Aube-Kubel has two goals and three assists during a five-game point streak. ... Provorov has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. ... The Flyers played their first game without forward James van Riemsdyk, who is expected to be out 4-6 weeks after breaking his right index finger in the first period against the Capitals on Wednesday.
Hurricanes: At the New York Islanders on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG+, FS-CR, NHL.TV)
Flyers: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSP, MSG-B, NHL.TV)