NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Carolina |
(Sunday, December 31st)
Final Score: Philadelphia 5, Carolina 2
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Robert Esche's 40 saves led the Philadelphia
Flyers to an inspired 5-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina
Hurricanes at RBC Center.
Alexei Zhitnik, Ryan Potulny, Kyle Calder and Mike Knuble added goals, Peter
Forsberg recorded three assists and Todd Fedoruk picked up a pair of helpers
for the Flyers, winners of back-to-back games for just the second time all
Ray Whitney scored twice and Eric Belanger had two assists for the Hurricanes,
who have dropped two of their last three games, but have still won four of
six. Cam Ward had his personal five-game winning streak halted, making just 14
saves on the night.
The Flyers were denied the early lead on a disputed goal with 1:39 remaining
in the first. Knuble's shot from the top of the left circle was stopped by
Ward's pad, but the rebound popped right back to the winger, and he batted the
puck out of the air and into the net just beneath the crossbar.
Upon review, the goal was disallowed as Knuble's stick was ruled above the
crossbar when it made contact with the puck.
Only 16 seconds later, Simon Gagne was credited with his 20th of the year as
another review determined his wrister from the slot hit the back of the net
before bouncing out sharply. Forsberg made the play happen with a
spectacular backhand feed from behind the net to Gagne while falling down.
Carolina tied the game, 1-1 while on a power-play. Belanger stripped Zhitnik
in front, and fed across to Whitney, whose one-timer was true from the left
side at 11:11 of the second.
Zhitnik picked up his first as a Flyer with 13 seconds left in the period, and
Philly led 2-1, despite being outshot 18-3 in the second and 30-13 in 40
minutes of play.
Potulny raised the advantage to 3-1 at 4:58 of the third, stashing home a
perfect centering feed from Fedoruk, who chased down a dump-in from center
ice. Calder followed 1:25 later, scoring on a breakaway by putting the brakes
on right in front of Ward and lifting the puck over the fallen goaltender.
Whitney broke the Flyers' spurt when he worked with Belanger and Rod
Brind'Amour to make it a 4-2 contest at 8:14, but Knuble hit the empty net
with 48.8 seconds left to seal the victory.
The teams have split the last six meetings...Esche turned in his first
back-to-back starts since November 15-18...The Flyers are 7-13-0 on the road,
Carolina 11-6-1 at home...Carolina is 2-3 in its last five New Years' Eve
games, Philadelphia is 5-0...Philly came into the game with an NHL-worst 88
goals on the season...Gagne now has recorded six 20-goal seasons in his seven-
year career...Flyers forward Sami Kapanen left the game in the second period
with an apparent upper-body injury and did not return.
12/31 23:13:01 ET