By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette would like to bottle his team scoring output against the Carolina Hurricanes for the rest of the season. But knowing that his team has had problems on offense, he will take Saturday night’s effort as a start in the right direction.
After struggling to score more than two goals in their last three games, the Flyers offense finally awoke from its slumber and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in front of 19,591 fans at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I thought we came out hard and had a good start,” Laviolette said. “That first shift was really important and it set the tone. We went down in the opposition’s end and we tried to pound it at the net and on the forecheck.”
In the first period, the Flyers scored three times which was more than the entirety of their last two losses to the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals. What made this win even more special for the Flyers is that five different players scored goals.
“When you look at the past two seasons, we were successful because we always had a guy like (Claude) Giroux who was leading the charge or Mike Richards before, but we were getting offense from all the way down the line,” said Flyers center Danny Briere. “That’s probably what was missing a little bit this year. To come here tonight with five different goals, five different goal scorers, I think it’s good for everybody’s confidence.”
The Flyers were perfect on their power-play chances, going three-for-three. Defenseman Kurtis Foster scored the game’s first goal in the first period when the Flyers had the man-advantage over the Hurricanes.
“We had a better presence at the net,” said Danny Briere, who scored on a power-play goal in the first period. “Even the first power-play that Foster scored it wasn’t pretty. But it was the presence in front of the next on all three goals if you look we had one or sometimes two guys in the crease to block (the goalie’s) view or pounce on the rebound.”
Meanwhile, Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had a slow start, giving up a pair of first period goals that came primarily from a couple lapses in the Flyers defense. Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen got a clean shot ath the goal from Bryzgalov’s right while Flyers defenders were stacked to the opposite side.
The Hurricanes got a power-play goal from center Eric Staal who stole a Flyers pass and scored an unassisted goal to bring Carolina within 3-2.
From there Bryzgalov settled down and stopped 42 Hurricanes shots on goal. He gave up a late power-play goal in the third period. With the Flyers defense seemingly taking the foot off the gas pedal in the third while compiling time in the penalty box, Carolina got 15 shots and scored just once thanks Bryzgalov’s outstanding play between the pipes.
“The second period was good, but in the third period, they had a lot of shots and there was a lot of traffic coming from their power-play,” Laviolette said. “They really started to press the issue in the third period.
“They were checking forward with their defenseman. They were high risk, high reward and they ended up staying in the zone. They had lots of zone time on us. The second period was good for Bryzgalov, but he was unreal and really strong player for tonight.”
Notes-Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine was suspended three games for an elbow to the head of Flyers rightwinger Wayne Simmonds.