RALEIGH, N.C. – A strong case was made for and against the defense when the Carolina Hurricanes hosted the Philadelphia Flyers at PNC Arena on Sunday.
In the end, it was the Flyers who took advantage of the opportunities they got and skated away with a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes.
While the game’s early goals came from the blue line, the final result came about due to Carolina not paying attention to details and Philadelphia capitalizing on turnovers.
“We scored enough to win, three is the magic number typically in this league, we had enough there, but we ended up giving up too much,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said.
“It’s not a way to win; it’s not a recipe for success, short term or long term.”
Defenseman Justin Faulk scored his third of the season for the Hurricanes while forwards Jeff Skinner and Viktor Stalberg tallied their fifth and second goals, respectively.
Cam Ward made 24 saves in the loss for Carolina while Michal Neuvirth made 26 stops to post the win.
While Brandon Manning scored the game winner shorthanded, Shane Gostisbehere and Radko Gudas each scored from the point early on before Claude Giroux tallied his second of the season from the slot.
Following an energetic 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on Friday at home, the Hurricanes looked to earn two points back from the Flyers who beat them 6-3 at Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 22.
Playing their second game in as many nights, having lost 5-4 to Pittsburgh at home on Saturday, Philadelphia was no worse for wear.
Carolina began the game at a consistent pace, moving the puck quickly, gaining the zone with puck possession, and kept Neuvirth busy.
Barely minutes in, the keeper robbed Carolina’s Jeff Skinner with a glove save off an easy chip-in attempt from the left post after the forward drew the puck back from the end boards.
Though initially struggling with positioning and timing, Philadelphia forced Ward to pay close attention and make critical stops early, and increased their frequency in doing throughout the game.
Both teams earned power play opportunities with the Flyers scoring once on three chances while the Hurricanes went scoreless with the man-advantage.
In fact, they eventually got scored on with the extra skater on the ice, a goal that made the difference and decided the game.
Neuvirth denied Sebastian Aho a chance to open the game’s scoring as Shane Gostisbehere sat in the penalty box for hooking.
However, Carolina lost its advantage when it was called for too many men on the ice.
It turned out to be a costly error.
Out of the box, Gostisbehere placed a point shot towards the Carolina net that ricocheted off defenseman Brett Pesce and eluded Ward low and gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 2:03 remaining in the period.
Still trailing in the second, the Hurricanes quickly evened it up 1-1 when Faulk’s snap shot from the point worked its way through traffic as Lee Stempniak set the screen to allow the puck to sail unopposed over Neuvirth’s blocker-side shoulder.
Skinner and Ron Hainsey earned assists on the goal that came at the 1:01 mark.
The back-and-forth tempo continued with shots coming from different direction in both ends.
Gudas connected on his point shot as it eluded Ward and put the Flyers back on top 2-1 at the 7:07 mark.
Three minutes later Skinner scored as his one-timer made its way between Neuvirth’s pads, regardless of how tight the keeper appeared to squeeze them.
Victor Rask extended his current point streak to eight games when he initiated the play before Hainsey’s pass from the left corner found Skinner to tie the game 2-2.
The Hurricanes maintained their momentum and forced a turnover by Flyers rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov in the neutral zone allowed Stalberg to skate in on a breakaway towards Neuvirth.
His quick wrister made it through the goalie’s pads and gave Carolina a 3-2 lead with 8:02 remaining in the period.
However, the Flyers eventually took advantage of a Hurricanes turnover in the neutral zone at the 17:14 mark.
A missed Carolina pass in the neutral zone came to Giroux who quickly dumped it into the Hurricanes zone.
Following the play, he got a return backhand pass from Wayne Simmonds from the right corner that set him up to snap the puck past Ward to tie the game at three goals apiece.
“We didn’t make a play and we turned it over in the neutral zone,” Peters pointed out.
“We don’t defend very well coming back in. We have enough guys back, but we don’t pick people up.”
The Flyers regained the lead, 4-3, when Manning beat Ward with a shorthanded marker, the eventual game winner, eight minutes into the third.
While on the power play, Rask lost possession of the puck in the Philadelphia zone and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare won the battle for it.
He skated across the center line and found Manning all alone as he approached the Carolina blue line.
The fifth-year defenseman gave Philadelphia the advantage it needed to hang on and earn the win.
While Skinner posted his fourth multi-point game of the season that put him among the league’s scoring leaders, it was not enough to earn two points in the standings, regardless of how hard he and his teammates tried to do so late in the game.
“It’s not many times you give up shorthanded goals,” Skinner said.
“You don’t want to give them in big spots. It’s definitely a big play in the game, but we had lots of time to regroup and make a good push. We just couldn’t find one to go in at the end.”