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Carter nets pair to lift Flyers

by John McGourty
PHILADELPHIA -- Jeff Carter scored twice and Ray Emery made 33 saves to help the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2, Saturday at the Wachovia Center. Danny Carcillo and Chris Pronger also scored for Philadelphia while Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour scored for the Hurricanes.

The victory allowed the Flyers to climb out of the Atlantic Division basement and into sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They went 4-0-0 in the season series with Carolina and haven't lost to them in regulation in the past 15 games (12-0-3).

It was the Flyers' sixth-straight victory at home and they are 3-0-0 on this six-game homestand. They host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

"We all know what's at stake. We jumped up into sixth here, and we're just taking it game by game," Carcillo said. "We’re at home and we've got to be ready for Pittsburgh tomorrow."

It was also Emery's third-straight victory since returning from abdominal surgery in early December.

"I feel pretty good. It's good to play consistently and get a routine going," Emery said. "I think we have been playing fairly simple. You know we have good players and sometimes you don't have to make all the skilled plays, just do simple things, wait for your power plays, and take advantage of them and limit your mistakes. That's what we’ve been doing. We are just following the game plan."

Carolina goalie Cam Ward made 20 saves after replacing Manny Legace at 6:36. Legace was forced from the game by a recurrence of conjunctivitis, or "pink eye." Legace made six stops but surrendered Carcillo's unassisted goal at 3:05 of the first period.

"Not sure what happened there. He had two full practices and was OK," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "It wasn't a vision thing. He was having trouble with the salt."

It was a game of wild swings in dominance as the Flyers controlled play through the first 17 minutes, building a 12-3 shots advantage, but were then outshot, 14-1, through the first seven minutes of the second period. The Flyers had the edge over the final six minutes of the second period but the Hurricanes dominated the early and late stages of the third period.

Laviolette said the outcome might have been determined by the Flyers' newfound belief that they can overcome adversity.

"I think they believe they're going to win before they go out on the ice," said Laviolette, now 13-10-1 as Flyers coach. "For me, that's a really large step in the right direction to winning a hockey game; knowing, and thinking that you're going to win. There's a lot of things, there's a process that you have to go through in order to actually win the game, but you gotta believe that you can beat anybody, and we're working on that, we're getting there.”

The Flyers had good pressure early and scored the first goal for the 14th time in their past 15 games when Carcillo stripped former Flyers defenseman Joni Pitkanen inside the Carolina blue line. Carcillo broke in on Legace and faked to his backhand, pulling the goalie left. He pulled the puck back as Legace went down on his belly, then roofed a wrist shot for his sixth goal of the season.

The Flyers increased the shots advantage to 12-3 with three minutes left in the period but then the edge swung to the Hurricanes. Sergei Samsonov broke into the Flyers' zone, passed to Matt Cullen who put a shot on Emery. Samsonov outskated Simon Gagne to the rebound and put another shot on Emery.

Darroll Powe was called for roughing on the play and Eric Staal scored on the power play when Jussi Jokinen's pass from the right side found the new captain all alone in front of the crease. Staal had had another good shot on Emery from the left side seconds earlier.

Dwyer took a hooking penalty at 13:26 of the second and the Flyers capitalized when Carter won an offensive-zone faceoff. Pronger collected the bounce off the boards, moved to his left and fired a slap shot past Ward at 14:11 for his eighth goal of the season and fourth on the power play.

The Flyers increased their lead to 3-1 at 15:56 during a line change. Arron Asham won a battle along the boards and found Carter coming onto the ice just inside the blue line. Carter's wrist shot deflected off Ward's glove for his 20th goal of the season. Ward had just made a nice save off James van Riemsdyk's backhander.

"On their third goal, I think we were trying to get into breakout position rather than coverage position," Maurice said.

But the Hurricanes re-established their dominance early in the third period, building a 7-1 shots advantage before Brind'Amour made it 3-2 at 1:21. Tim Gleason's long outlet pass found Samsonov floating at the Flyers' blue line. Samsonov chased the puck behind the net, as Emery tried to handle it, and back-handed a pass to Brind'Amour in the slot and Emery had no chance on the shot.

Saturday was the 10th anniversary of the trade that sent Brind'Amour to Carolina in exchange for Keith Primeau. He's 39 now and it might be his last game in Philadelphia.

"It's amazing how many people still remember me and I could hear them calling out to me," Brind'Amour said. "I got a nice ovation. That means a lot to me. They have great fans here and I always knew that when I played here."

Braydon Coburn took a slashing penalty with 2:12 remaining and the Hurricanes pulled Ward with 1:23 to go. The Hurricanes swarmed Emery but couldn't score. Brind'Amour had three good shots at Emery and he made a strong save with 21 saves remaining.

"Emery made a big save on me there at the end," Brind'Amour said. "That was the difference. I should have scored there and we'd still be playing."

Carter then took the puck up the right wing and scored an empty-net goal at 19:59.

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