RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes earned a gritty 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers in front of 12,852 in attendance a PNC Arena on Saturday.
Two stops from goaltender Cam Ward and goals from Chris Terry and Nathan Gerbe in the shootout made the difference to earn the final point and win for Carolina.
“I was really determined to make sure that that stood and we got the win,” Ward said.
“Fortunate enough to make a couple of saves in the shootout and get a win.”
During regulation, the line of Jordan Staal centering brother Eric and Elias Lindholm led the Hurricanes’ offense, while Ward finished with 21 saves.
Jordan posted a goal and an assist while Lindholm finished with a goal.
“That’s a line we’re very comfortable with,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.
“It’s fun playin’ with those two guys,” Jordan added.
“Eric’s a big body and he reads the play well to make plays with the puck to create room. Lindy does the same thing. He holds onto it, let’s guys come to him, and gives you space in the middle.”
Michael Raffl and Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers while netminder Ray Emery made 23 saves.
The game was the fourth of five meetings between the teams this season and first of two in a six-day span.
Emery, who came in with a clean 5-0-0 record against Carolina, was tested early as Terry’s drop pass to a trailing Danny Biega prompted attention and kept Carolina off the score sheet.
A few minutes later, Emery denied Eric Staal the same opportunity in the middle slot, after a nice pass from Lindholm.
At the other end, Ward kept busy making his first three stops of the game.
Lindholm opened the game’s scoring and put Carolina ahead 1-0 at the 11-minute mark.
As Jordan carried the puck into the Philadelphia zone, Eric broke to the net with the young Swede trailing from the right wing.
Emery made a pad save on Jordan’s shot, and while Eric was covered and couldn’t get his stick on the rebound, Lindholm made no mistake of one-timing the puck into the open net and tallying his 17th of the season.
Carolina was afforded two power plays during the period, but was unable to capitalize on either and carried its 1-0 lead into the first intermission while outshooting the Flyers 7-4.
Jordan extended the Hurricanes lead to two goals at the 3:27 mark of the second.
Fighting for the puck along the boards in the neutral zone, he took advantage of a turnover by Philadelphia defenseman Nicklas Grossman and accelerated towards the net with Emery waiting for him.
Though the Flyers keeper was in position, his effort to squeeze his trapper-side arm to his body wasn’t quick enough to keep the puck from getting past him.
A penalty to Alexander Semin allowed the Flyers to get back into the game near the midpoint of the period.
Raffl deflected a point shot from Couturier following an effective forecheck, and follow-up pinch and pass along the blue line from Michael Del Zotto.
Ward had no chance on Courturier’s point shot as it made its way through traffic before being redirected into the top corner by Raffl, giving the Flyers winger his 21st goal of the season at 9:46.
“I thought we were in total control at that time,” Peters said.
“Then, all of a sudden, late in the power play they scored. Obviously, a frustrating situation, but I thought the guys did a good job not sagging at that time. I don’t think we sagged a whole bunch. We weren’t quite as good for a little bit. We just kept playin’ and doin’ good things.”
As both teams completed another tight-checking period, Carolina held on to its advantage, leading 2-1.
While both teams kept Ward and Emery busy, putting 11 shots apiece on goal, the physical play of the Flyers eventually wore Carolina down in.
Philadelphia’s tenacious effort paid off and tied the game 2-2 with 1:50 remaining in regulation.
Matt Read carried the puck into the Carolina zone and put a shot on Ward.
Carolina failed to clear the rebound and after Read got it to Brayden Schenn at the point, the Flyers defenseman’s backhander towards the net bounced over Michal Jordan’s stick in the low slot and onto Couturier’s stick.
The Flyers center slipped a backhander between Ward’s pads and both teams were even after 60 minutes.
“It’s never easy when you get scored on late,” Ward said.
“I didn’t sense any panic. I thought in the overtime period that we had some looks. I don’t think we gave up a shot in overtime and we were able to bear down.”
Both teams remained scoreless through the overtime period with Carolina finding the only scoring opportunity which Emery turned away.
With a 5-7 record in shootouts this season, Terry’s backhander made the difference as he cleanly beat Emery, scoring on his opportunity after Gerbe hit the same high trapper-side spot earlier.
At the other end, Ward couldn’t stop Nick Cousins on the Flyers’ first shootout attempt, but his denial of deke attempts from Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux made the difference to complete the win for the Hurricanes.
“I like to go first, especially when you’re playin’ good,” Peters said.
“I like to score first. Statistically, and I haven’t looked at it lately, but it used to be the team that scores first in the shootouts, wins the higher percentage. So, if you shoot first, you have a better chance to score first.”