By Peter Koutroumpis
RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes needed two points, but they had to settle for one as the result of a 2-1 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Elias Lindholm’s 15th goal of the season which came on the Hurricanes’ power play was countered by Wayne Simmonds’ marker through regulation.
In overtime, Carolina goaltender Cam Ward left enough room open between his pads that allowed Philadelphia’s Jordan Weal to slide the puck through to end the game with 3.1 seconds remaining.
It was a deep dagger into the hearts of the majority of the 11,585 on hand at PNC Arena as it brought an abrupt end to a furious flurry of scoring opportunities that the Hurricanes put on Flyers keeper Brian Elliott – six total – at the other end.
Despite not getting a full two points, Carolina head coach Bill Peters was happier with what he saw from his team compared to that following a 3-1 loss to San Jose on Sunday.
“The effort was real good – I thought it was a good game,” he said.
“It was a really intense game; I thought there was a real good pace to the game.”
Both teams presented a tight-checking structure from the opening faceoff.
Not a surprise for anyone who’s watched these teams battle each other before.
From Carolina’s side, the concern, in addition to falling further back of the Flyers, and still one point out of the Eastern Conference wildcard spot, was a lack of scoring.
Lindholm’s goal at 15:05 was the offensive highlight of the first period and eventually the entire game for the Hurricanes.
This is not a new problem for Carolina as a number of expected scoring catalysts, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Teuvo Teravainen to name a few, have not produced many goals during the past 10 games.
A few goals from each is not enough.
“It’s not going in right now obviously for us,” Peters continued.
“We’ve gotta bear down, get it off our stick a little quicker. I thought we had some real good looks. They did a real good job too defensively of blocking shots – they had a lot of blocked shots, especially early.”
Philadelphia got in front of 28 Carolina shots throughout the game and bought time until they it evened the score late in the second.
While leading 1-0, Ward helped to maintain that margin of difference, particularly on the penalty kill on back-to-back man-advantage series’ from the Flyers.
His pad save on Valteri Filppula from in close during the latter part of the frame maintained the Hurricanes’ lead, and so did another save on a wide-open breakaway opportunity for Travis Konecny.
However, Simmonds, standing on the edge of Ward’s crease, eventually tied it up with 3:17 remaining in the period.
While the Flyers outshot the Hurricanes 7-2 during the third period, 30-28 overall, Ward held up his end long enough to push the contest into overtime.
“There was not really anything there in the third,” Lindholm said.
“We had a few chances. We would have won the game in the third if we played a little better.”
During overtime, Skinner and Jordan Staal initiated the most significant scoring chances for Carolina, including a save by Elliott that rebounded up in the air and was batted away before Staal could get control of it.
Then, with momentum, Weal carried the puck across the Hurricanes blue line and cut from the wing into the slot and released the game-winning shot past Ward.
“They found a way to win; a tough loss for us,” Lindholm concluded.
“It’s tough to win when you only score one goal. Ward had been playing unbelievable for us. Too bad we can’t help him with a win and score more goals.”
Notes: Peters coached his 300th game (125-125-50) against Philadelphia and became the fourth coach in team history to reach the 300-game plateau, joining Paul Maurice (920), Jack Evans (374), and Peter Laviolette (323). He made his NHL head coaching debut Oct. 10, 2014 and is in his fourth season with Carolina and fourth season as an NHL head coach.
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport