By Kevin Fortier (@ksfortier)
The Flyers went into Carolina to play the Hurricanes Saturday night badly needing a victory. Having lost 7 of their last 8 games (1-6-1) and seemingly unable to consistently put the puck in the net they were in danger of slipping from 3rd place in the Metropolitan division to one of the wild card slots.
Flyers star defenseman Ivan Provorov provided some excitement as ht took the initial faceoff into the Canes end, played the puck between his legs and rang a backhand shot off the post to start the game. He could be seen grinning from ear to ear after the play.
Unfortunately, that was the most excitement the Flyers generated in the period. They continued their listless play of late and surrendered the first goal of the game to Carolina on a deflection by Jordan Staal of a Jacob Slavin shot from the point with about five minutes into the game.
Rookie netminder Alex Lyon had no chance on the deflection and had played well throughout the first period. He had stopped two point blank chances by Noah Hanifin earlier in the period.
The Flyers had two power play opportunities in the 1st period that did not generate many quality chances and the period ended with the Hurricanes up 1-0.
There was not a lot of excitement in the 2nd period. The Flyers managed only seven shots on goal for the period and seemed to play much of the period in their own end as they struggled to clear the zone or generate much time in the Hurricanes end.
Other than a breakaway for Konecny, which Cam Ward stoned, and Couturier whiffing on a point blank empty net chance the Flyers did not generate much offense in the period.
The Flyers had to kill off a Travis Sanheim interference penalty to keep it a one goal game. They were aggressive on the kill as they made it difficult for the Canes to enter the zone and get set up.
Andrew MacDonald took a double minor high sticking penalty with less than two minutes remaining in the period.
The Flyers managed to keep the Canes from extending their lead and remaining in striking distance and this certainly seemed like the bad bounce the Flyers had seen so many of in the recent stretch of games and risked letting the game get away from them.
The Flyers seeming to grasp the peril of going into the 3rd period down two goals kept the Canes to the outside and only gave up one shot on goal with seven seconds left in the period.
The Canes had 2:32 of power play time to begin the 3rd period. The Flyers continued their aggressive PK as they stacked up the blue line and made it difficult for the Canes to enter the zone. The Canes were called for offsides twice due toe the Flyers aggressive play as the PK time wound down.
The Canes only managed one weak shot on goal in the final 2:32 of the kill. This seemed to energize the Flyers as they continued the aggressive play after MacDonald left the penalty box.
The Flyers managed nine shots on goal in the 3rd scoring on four of those opportunities.
The Flyers tied the game eight minutes into the 3rd when Konecny tipped home a wrister by Travis Sanheim. Konecny boxed out Canes defenseman Noah Hanifin in front of the net giving him room to make the play.
The Canes retook the lead about two minutes later on a goal by Slavin who skated in from the blue line and fired a wrister top shelf into the net to give the Canes a 2-1 lead.
Oskar Lindbom earned his first NHL point on a laser like pass to Voracek who would not be denied in front of the net tying the game at 2-2 less than two minutes after the Canes re-took the lead.
Val Filppula scored his first in twenty-six games to give the Flyers the lead for good with less than six minutes remaining in the game. Filppula had bumped into an official which caused him to be late getting back which lead to him being wide open for the breakaway goal.
Michael Raffl sealed the victory with an empty net goal at the 18:10 mark of the 3rd period.
The win kept the Flyers in the 3rd spot. Both Columbus and New Jersey won their games and had the Flyers lost they would have slipped into the 2nd wild card slot.
Final: Flyers 4-2.
Car: 15:12 Stall (Slavin, Teravainin)
Phi: 8:19 Konecny (Sanheim, Simmonds)
Car: 10:04 Slavin (Aho, Stall)
Phi: 11:58 Voracek (Lindblom, Patrick)
Phi: 14:11 Filppula (Simmonds)
Phi: 18:10 Raffl empty net (Couturier)
Shots on goal
Phi: 11-7-9 27
Car: 11-8-6 25
Photo: Ben McKwoen