RALEIGH, N.C. – Everyone surrounded the first star of the game defenseman Dougie Hamilton while goaltender James Reimer went about his business putting his equipment away nearby.
Hamilton had just tallied the Hurricanes’ game-winning goal to clinch a 5-4 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers at PNC arena on Tuesday.
For Reimer, the win was his first win at home, one that ended a recent two-game skid that Carolina had in recent losses to Washington and Tampa Bay.
“We got pucks deep and went to work,” Reimer said.
“Over there, they’re a good team too and we just found a way. At times it wasn’t the prettiest game from everyone, but we just found a way.”
Falling behind early
Reimer didn’t get off to a good start, letting in a Travis Konecny wrist shot just 37 seconds after the opening puck drop.
In his first start since Dec. 27, he wasn’t as sharp as he would have liked to be.
He got a piece of the shot, but some “funky bounces” as he referred to them as, got the better of him.
“The puck was slippery tonight,” he said with a smile.
“I’m just glad we got one more bounce than they did.”
After falling behind 2-0 on Michael Raffl’s deke and wrap around him in his crease, the Carolina netminder got some support by the midpoint of the period.
Lucas Wallmark and Warren Foegele each tallied their ninth goals of the season and both teams headed into the first intermission tied at two apiece.
After struggling to dig themselves out of holes they created early on in recent games, coming out for a fresh second period gave the Hurricanes the reset they needed to find ‘their’ game.
Foegele helped set up defenseman Jake Gardiner for his third goal of the year, a blast from the left circle that left Flyers starting goalie Brian Elliott wanting.
He faced 33 total shots in the losing effort, including Joel Edmundson’s point blast that extended Carolina’s lead to 4-2 at the 4:57 mark.
In control, Reimer and the Canes defense continued to ward off 10 shots on goal during the period, until he let one get by that cut the margin to one goal heading into the third.
After Konecny’s goal snuck under his blocker arm and trickled in to start the game, Nicolas Aube-Kubel’s snap shot snuck through his trapper-side arm and body.
“He’d wanna have a couple of those back for sure,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“I didn’t talk to him, but the first one, I know he didn’t like. I thought at times when we were runnin’ around, he made a few saves for us. It was a tough night (for him) that way. He hasn’t played much in a while, that probably had something to do with a little rust, but at the end of the day it was two points we desperately needed, so it’s good.”
All’s well that ends well
Instead of earning the win in regulation in only his third start at home this season, Reimer was tasked with facing Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim all alone in front as he skated around from his left post – getting away from both Foegele and Brock McGinn whose pursuit was impeded behind the net by Flyers forward Sean Couturier.
Unfortunately, Reimer lost the confrontation as the puck slid under him and the score was tied 4-4 with 4:11 remaining.
The rest as they say was history as Hamilton vindicated his goalie when he used Sanheim, who was playing without a stick, as a screen before snapping the puck between the defender’s legs and Elliott’s pads to win the game.
“We don’t really look at standings too much,” Reimer concluded.
“Tonight was just about getting back on track, and trying to grind out a win…and we did it. Obviously, it’s a big game, we were tryin’ to treat it like a playoff game. They’re one point behind us, so it was just a matter of trying to get some separation from them.”
Notables: Carolina finished 0-1 on the power play, 32-137 (23.4%) overall…On the PK, the Hurricanes went 2-2, 126-154 (81.8%) overall… Foegele has now tallied five points in his last five games, his fifth multi-point game of the season and the seventh of his career…Assistant captain Jordan Martinook recorded an assist tonight for his 100th career NHL point (43g, 57a). He has earned 35 points (17g, 18a) in 110 games with Carolina, after posting 65 points (26g, 39a) in 247 games with ARI from 2014-18… With his goal, Wallmark has recorded 10 points in his last 10 games after recording 10 points in his first 33 games this season.
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