-- What is it about the Carolina Hurricanes
that consistently brings out the best in the Philadelphia Flyers
Whatever the reason, fans of the orange and black aren't complaining.
Despite the absence of linemate Danny Briere
, who earlier in the day was issued a three-game suspension by the League, Scott Hartnell
struck for a pair of goals to lead the Flyers to their eighth straight win over the 'Canes, 3-2, on Monday before 19,038 at Wells Fargo Center.
"Danny (Briere) caught a tough break with his suspension," Hartnell said. "We miss him. Obviously, he's been a big part of our team so far. We came out and played hard, we played tough, we stuck through it there and got the win, that's the main thing."
His first two-goal game since March 10, 2009, now gives a rejuvenated Hartnell 8 points (4 goals) over his last eight games.
"I think over the years my confidence grew," Hartnell said. "Coming here and being a big part of the club, playing on the top couple lines and the power play. Confidence is a weird thing. When it's there you feel great, you're skating well. When John Stevens was here, he instilled a lot of that in me and now (Peter) Laviolette, you know, when you're playing hard, you're playing well, you're on a body … he really stresses that when we're going and everyone feeds off and everyone's confidence is high right now."
Laviolette has also seen a more confident Hartnell this season.
"He's played well; his line has played well for a good stretch here," Laviolette said. "Through the end of the season, the playoffs, and picking it up in training camp, he seems to be enjoying the game and his place to be is in front of the net.
"I think he's got a clearer head this year," Laviolette continued. "He's coming in and just enjoying hockey and being at the rink with his teammates. I think Ville (Leino) is a big help to that line because he hangs on to the puck so much and creates things."
With Briere's suspension, Jeff Carter was inserted at center alongside Hartnell and Leino to open the game. And, really, there wasn't much of an offensive letdown. Hartnell, Carter (2 assists) and Leino combined for 2 goals, 5 points and a plus-6 rating.
"We're kind of mixing and matching," Hartnell said of the team's offensive lines. "I think the main theme with everyone is pretty similar -- we don't change things up from line to line. We try to play relentless Flyers hockey. Get it in, cycle, change sides, up to the point, and get to the net. When we're doing that we're a real effective hockey team and you can really tell when we're not on our game because we're not doing those things and play poor."
Carolina pared the deficit to 3-2 on a goal with 26.8 seconds remaining in the third when Joe Corvo connected for his first of the season past a screened Flyers' goalie Sergei Bobrovsky
, but the visitors failed to get the puck deep on the ensuing faceoff.
The Flyers, winners of four straight, will look to make it five in a row on Thursday when they play host to the New York Rangers. The defending Eastern Conference champs never celebrated more than four straight triumphs the entire 2009-10 campaign.
Hartnell's second goal of the game and fourth of the season came 6:30 into the third when he redirected a shot past Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters
from the left circle off a feed from defenseman Kimmo Timonen
, giving the home team a 3-1 lead.
"Kimmo is a great player, he plays hard every night, takes hits and blocks shots and he made a great pass there," Hartnell said. "It went off the toe of my skate and went in. Sometimes you get those bounces and tonight, we did."
Peters was making just his second appearance of the season and first career start against Philadelphia. Bobrovsky, who was making his fourth straight start, continued his mastery between the pipes with 26 saves.
gave the Flyers their second lead of the game, 2-1, at 11:21 of the second with his team-leading seventh goal of the season. When Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen
was whistled for hooking just five seconds earlier, Giroux won an offensive-zone draw back to Mike Richards at the point. Richards returned a pass to Giroux, who one-timed a blast from atop the right circle.
"Anytime you're missing guys like Briere in the lineup, it's going to hurt you," Giroux said. "I think guys played well. I really liked (Eric) Wellwood. I think he played very well tonight. He battled hard and I think the whole team did."
Wellwood was making his NHL debut for the Flyers in the absence of Andreas Nodl
, who was sidelined with an upper-body injury. Briere, meanwhile, was given his three-game suspension Monday morning for his stick-swinging incident with New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen in the final minute of Saturday's 6-1 victory at Wells Fargo Center.
"It's never a good time for a suspension," Briere told reporters before the game. "When you're losing, you want to help the team get back on track. When the team's winning, you want to help keep it on a roll. It's never a good time for a suspension. Either way, I would have been disappointed."
The Hurricanes pulled into a 1-1 tie 3:05 into the second when Patrick Dwyer
cashed in off a neutral-zone turnover. Jeff Skinner
made the play happen after stealing the puck from James van Riemsdyk
and leading Dwyer on a breakaway. Dwyer fired a shot that beat Bobrovsky over his left glove.
"I thought we were in good shape when we made it 2-1," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "I really didn't think they were great either and there wasn't a lot of emotion in the game."
After playing their seventh game in 14 days, Maurice admitted his team might have been a little weary. Since back-to-back season-opening victories over the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki, Finland, the 'Canes have gone 3-5-0.
"We're not getting there quite as fast as we were a week ago, so our attention to detail has to be perfect," Maurice said. "We just have to get the rest that we can get on our off days and find a way to drive your legs a little harder, and get more guys off of the bench."
The Flyers opened a 1-0 lead 12:29 into the first when Hartnell controlled a rebound in the slot before firing a rising backhand over the left pad of Peters.
The Flyers finished 1-for-5 on the power-play, marking the fourth straight game the club connected for at least one score via the man advantage. The 'Canes, who last defeated the Flyers on Nov. 28, 2008, were 0-for-3 on the power-play.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale