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Flyers Scoring Slump Continues in Loss to New Jersey

8 Nov

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday

Wayne Simmonds said Flyers are thinking too much during scoring slump.

Wayne Simmonds said Flyers are thinking too much during scoring slump.

PHILADELPHIA—Statistics that say that you have a probability to lose under certain circumstances are only true when your team finds itself in said situation and makes that stat true.

Coming into Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers were 0-6 when the other team scores first. Given the Flyers inability to put the puck in the net on a regular basis, there is always a high probability that they would be finding themselves on the losing end of the score again.

Now make it 0-7.

Just one-minute and 57 seconds into the game, New Jersey got on the board first when Adam Henrique deflected a shot from teammate Eric Gelinas that got past Flyers goaltender Ray Emery.  That gave the Devils what could construed as an “insurmountable” 1-0 lead given the Flyers lack of scoring punch.

New Jersey got two more goals in the third period from Cam Janssen and a late empty-netter by Jaromir Jagr to complete a 3-0 shutout of a Flyers squad that couldn’t seem to find a way to score against an aging Martin Brodeur (22 saves). The 19,604 fans gathered at the Wells Fargo Center voiced their frustration by serenading their team with boos as they walked off the ice.

“It just means we’re not doing our jobs,” said Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds. “The fans react to what they see and it’s not good enough.”

It marked the second straight home game in which the Flyers did not score a goal. They haven’t scored on their home ice since an Oct. 29 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

After the game, the Flyers had a players’ only meeting to figure out how they can break out of their scoring woes. Simmonds, who would not elaborate on what was said during the confab, said the team’s inability to put the puck in the net is more of a mental issue than anything else.

“We’re not penetrating, we’re not getting quality shots,” Simmonds said. “I think we’re thinking too much about passing instead of shooting. When things aren’t going for you tend to pull up for the extra play instead of just throwing stuff at the net. When you get bounces, you get stuff off other team’s skates and sticks. You get the dirty goals. I think that’s where we gotta start. It starts in practice (Friday). I think we gotta come to practice tomorrow. We gotta stop in front of the nets and bury every puck we can.”

Whether the players-only meeting will eventually help the Flyers remains to be seen, but they have to start somewhere.

“The only way I know is to work hard and play hard for your teammates,” said Flyers defenseman Hal Gill. “That’s what we gotta keep working on and find a way to make the puck drop and get that first goal. Things are going to come, we’re going to get guys to score goals. I think we believe that we just have to fight through the times that it’s not happening.”

The one area that really killed the Flyers was their inability to put together anything on their power-play opportunities. Not only were they 0-for-3 on the power play, they could only manage three shots. Head coach Craig Berube was not pleased with his team’s effort with the man-advantage Thursday night.

“We got outplayed and outworked,” Berube said. “That can’t happen. I think there’s some games, if you go back, the power-play looked good, but the puck didn’t go in. On a consistent night, you got to outwork the penalty kill. You go to create momentum for your team. We did not do that tonight.”

Rock Bottom: Capitals Shutout Flyers in Fight-Filled Contest

2 Nov

 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Steve Mason gives up to goal to Washington's Jason Chimera as the Capitals scored five goals in the second period. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Steve Mason gives up to goal to Washington’s Jason Chimera as the Capitals scored five goals in the second period. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—With Washington’s prolific goal-scorer Alexander Ovechkin out with an upper body injury and his teammates playing the final game of a five-game road trip, you would think that this would be an opportunity for the Flyers to score a few goals and possibly steal a win.

The Flyers were also hoping that left winger Steve Downie, who was acquired by the Flyers from the Colorado Avalanche in a trade for Max Talbot, would provide some scoring punch. That didn’t work either. He left the game in the second period and was taken to Pennsylvania Hospital to be treated for concussion symptoms.

Instead, the only team doing the stealing was the Capitals who took what they wanted in a 7-0 shutout of the Flyers in front of 19, 702 disgruntled fans at the Well Fells Fargo Center.  The fans took their disgust out on team general manager Paul Holmgren by chanting, “Fire Holmgren.”

“I can’t blame the fans,” Holmgren said. “We’re as frustrated as they are.”

The booing and chanting came during the second period when Washington (6-7-0) scored five goals to pretty much end the competitive portion of the game. The fortunes of a team that can’t score got even more complicated by their inability to stop the other team from putting the puck in the net.

In short, the Flyers (3-9-0) got their collective rear-ends handed to them on the scoreboard. It was no doubt the low point of what has been tough season.

“It can’t get a whole lot lower, can it?”  Flyers head coach Craig Berube asked rhetorically after the game. “Everybody’s been involved in these games before. You can’t sit there and dwell upon it. You gotta play a game (Saturday against the New Jersey Devils). Compete tomorrow, work real hard. That’s what you do.”

Speaking of Holmgren, he addressed the team during the second intermission to express his own disgust at the way the Flyers were playing.

“We played pretty good for 15 minutes. Once they scored their first goal, we just stopped playing,” Holmgren said. “We were afraid to play the game. We were afraid to make plays. We were afraid to battle for pucks, afraid to skate after pucks. It was tough to watch. I’m sure the players are very embarrassed.”

Flyers goalie Ray Emery engages in a brawl with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Flyers goalie Ray Emery engages in a brawl with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Photo by Webster Riddick.

The only thing Flyers fans had to cheer about was a third-period melee which resulted in 114 minutes of penalties. For the game, the teams had 164 minutes worth of penalties.  It started with Wayne Simmonds fighting Capitals right winger Tom Wilson and that escalated into a brawl between Vincent LeCavalier and Caps defenseman Steve Olesky.  Just as Brayden Schenn was mixing it up with Washington defenseman Alexander Urbom, Flyers goalie Ray Emery sprinted down the ice to put a beat down on Capitals net-minder Braden Holtby.

“As a group we were frustrated tonight, our fans are frustrated,” Emery said. “Things didn’t go our way. We all grew up playing hockey and sometimes that happens. We don’t take losses like that.”

Berube said the third period brawl showed that his team wasn’t going to lay down and quit.

“They care,” Berube said. “They’re frustrated. That’s what it boils down to.”

Vincent LeCavalier gets into a brawl with Capitals defenseman Steve Olesky in the third period of a 7-0 loss to Washington. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Vincent LeCavalier gets into a brawl with Capitals defenseman Steve Olesky in the third period of a 7-0 loss to Washington. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Added Holmgren: “They were getting slapped around. It’s a response. Do I have an issue with it? No.”

If this game was scored on a 10-point must system, the Flyers would have won hands down. It’s too bad the Flyers can’t score the way they can fight. If they shot pucks into the net the way their fists hit the faces of Capitals players, they might be Stanley Cup contenders. The video of this brawl will probably go viral on social media sites and will also go to the NHL offices for possible suspensions.

Two Washington players Nicklas Backstrum and Joel Ward had hat-tricks against the Flyers defense.

In the first period, the Flyers out shot Washington 8-4, but when the clock hit zero to end the period, it was the Capitals with a 1-0 lead.  With 2:32 left in the period, Washington was able to get on the board when Nate Schmidt took the puck that caromed off the stick of  Simmonds and passed it to Erat Martin, who found Backstrom in front of the circle to left of the goal. Backstrum shot the puck past Mason for the score.

What made things even more disheartening was that the Flyers held the Capitals without a shot on goal for the game’s first 15 minutes.

“We played pretty good (in the first period), they got the goal, we didn’t respond,” Berube said. “That’s what I saw.”

Things didn’t get any better for the Flyers in that fateful second period either as Washington exploded to score five goals-three within the first five minutes of the period. The Caps scored the first of those goals in 1:24 of the period when Ward got in a shot past Mason.  A little over a minute later, left winger Jason Chimera scored to make it a 3-0.

That goal got Mason pulled from the game, but that didn’t stop the Capitals from scoring. Backstrum got his second goal on another shot between the blue line and circle that went past Ray Emery. Just five minutes into the second period the Capitals had an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

Washington added two more goals-including Backstrum’s third and another in the third to complete the rout.

 

Flyers Scoring Slump Continues in Loss to Pittsburgh

18 Oct

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Flyers Forward Wayne Simmonds deflects a shot from Claude Giroux past Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury for the Flyers only goal of the game. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Flyers Forward Wayne Simmonds deflects a shot from Claude Giroux past Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury for the Flyers only goal of the game. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—Coming into Thursday night’s game, Flyers captain Claude Giroux said that a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins would be a turning a point for a Flyers team that is at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings.

For a 1-7 Flyers squad, the ability to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis would be the first step to salvage a season that appears to be going nowhere fast.

The Flyers 4-1 loss to the Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center wasn’t what Giroux was hoping for because his team, in spite of its best efforts, simply could not score more than one goal.   It was yet another night of trying to make sense of a scoring slump that seems to have no end in sight.

“I think if we would have won that game, it would have been a big turning point, but it didn’t happen,” Giroux said. “We gotta lot of time to look at tapes and look at what we’re doing wrong. I think if we play 60 minutes, responsible and disciplined about our game, we’ll be fine. We’ll start winning games. It’s just a matter of time. We just need to start believing it before we start playing.”

The good news for the Flyers is that they are off for the next six days and will have some time to figure out a way out of their scoring slump.

“You’ve got to pick your head up and come to work and get ready to play,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “They’re the only guys that are going to dig us out of this hole- the guys in the locker room. They gotta start believing in each other and believe in themselves and playing hockey like they can.”

Meanwhile, Flyers goalie Steve Mason did everything he could to keep the Flyers in the game. He had 32 saves, but allowed three goals. When you’re offense is not scoring, a goalie’s best efforts are not enough.

“It’s not easy right now. We’re struggling to create offense and I’m trying to make the save I need to make and just be patient and eventually, it’ll come,” Mason said. “When you’re only scoring one goal a game, it’s tough to win hockey games. It puts pressure on us in the defensive zone and we’re going have to start creating opportunities to score.”

After a scoreless first period, the Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Jussin Jokinen on a pass from center Eveni Malkin with 10:17 left in the period. Malkin snatched the puck away from Michael Raffl near the blue line and passed it to Jokinen, who slapped the puck past Mason for the score.

Three minutes later, Penguins forward Chris Kunitz rebounded a shot by Matt Niskanen past Mason for Pittsburgh’s second goal of the period.

In that second period, the Flyers played poorly on both offense and defense. They managed just five shots on goal in the period and just seemed lifeless.

“We were brutal,” said Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds. “We weren’t executing, weren’t getting pucks deep. We turned over pucks in the neutral zone. They’re a good transition team. We couldn’t break the puck out of our zone and they took advantage of that.”

The Flyers finally got on the board on a power play with just two seconds left in the period when Simmonds deflected a shot from Giroux into the Pittsburgh net past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (24 saves).

That goal the Penguins cut the lead to 2-1 and that’s as close as the Flyers would get because it was back to the salt mines of their never-ending scoring drought. The Flyers managed work harder and had several chances to score, but just came up short

“We score a late goal with three or four seconds left, so we had momentum going in (to the third period),” Simmonds said. “We tried to build on it … But nothing ever came of it.”

On a night when the Flyers held the Penguins to 0-for-4 on the power play, they didn’t put anything together offensively.  When you don’t score, a good offensive team like Pittsburgh is going to put you away. Late in the third, a goal by Sydney Crosby and empty-net goal by Malkin sealed the Flyers fate while sending fans to the exits.

Flyers Do Everything But Score in Season-Opening Loss to Toronto

3 Oct

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Wayne Simmonds shot is stuffed by Toronto goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier. The Flyers had 32 shots, but scored just one goal in loss to the Maple Leafs. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Wayne Simmonds shot is stuffed by Toronto goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier. The Flyers had 32 shots, but scored just one goal in loss to the Maple Leafs. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—There was an old coach who once said defense with no offense is like working all day and not making any money.

In their season-opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Flyers worked their butts offs and did everything they could to put the puck into the net.  They outshot the Maple Leafs 32-25 and stayed on the attack for the most of the game. They had several chances to score, but just could not finish it off.

“When you’re up 30 shots on net, usually you get two or three goals,” said Flyers center Vincent LeCavalier. “We just couldn’t capitalize.”

But in the end, your hard work has to pay off with goals and the Flyers didn’t have enough of them as Toronto came away with a 3-1 win in front of a sellout crowd of 19,872 fans at the Wells Fargo Center.

“Offensively, that’s the best we’ve looked, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to put more goals in than one,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “Like I said there were lots of pucks, they blocked a lot of shots. I thought we missed the net a lot tonight. It seemed like we had some zone time.

“Give Toronto credit. I thought that they played hard through the second and third and they made it difficult to find better chances or better scoring areas we had to work for those spots. They played pretty good defensively tonight.”

If anything else, the effort was there for the Flyers, but the execution was flawed as they were constantly attacking Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier with shots and did not score enough goals to win. The Maple Leafs goalie had 31 saves.

Even when the Flyers had the man-advantage on the Maple Leafs, the didn’t do much with it and were just one of six on the power-play. Claude Giroux said the Flyers inability to take advantage of those power-play opportunities were a boost in momentum for the Maple Leafs.

“When you kill a penalty, you get momentum,” Giroux said. “We had our chances and it’s frustrating, but we have to stay positive. It’s one game. We have 81 more.”

The Flyers dominated the first period and spent most of the first 20 minutes attacking Bernier. The Flyers broke through for what turned out to be their only goal of the game on the power play when Brayden Schenn took a pass from LeCavalier and shot it past Bernier to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

Toronto evened the game in the second period on a goal center Phil Kessell with a little over three minutes left.

Perhaps the biggest momentum killer for the Flyers and the biggest boost for the Maple Leafs was the missed penalty shot by right winger Wayne Simmonds, who got to go one-on-one with Bernier when he was tripped on a break away by Toronto’s Paul Ranger.

Bernier stuffed Simmonds shot and that was emblematic of the Flyers first evening of the 2013-2014 season.

“I missed it. It would have been the difference in the game, I think,” Simmonds said. “When you get to a penalty shot situation, obviously it’s one-on-one, he got the better of me that time.”

Toronto would go ahead for good early in the third period on a goal by center Dave Bolland. He would add a power-play goal late in the game to close out the scoring for the Maple Leafs.

Despite giving up the last two goals of the game, goaltender Steve Mason was solid in goal with 22 saves. Laviolette said he was satisfied with his performance.

“I thought Mason was good,” Laviolette said. “He made a couple of big saves in the second period. A couple of point-blank chances that they had.”

Rejuvenated Ray Emery Returns to Philly Ready to Win

11 Jul

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

http://www.thechrismurrayreport.org

Flyers Goalie Ray Emery  will be competing for starting spot at goaltender this upcoming season. Photo by Chris Murray

Flyers Goalie Ray Emery will be competing for starting spot at goaltender this upcoming season. Photo by Chris Murray

PHILADELPHIA-Flyers goalie Ray Emery returns to the City of the Brotherly Love with a better understanding of what means to keep fighting on in the face of difficult circumstances.

During his last stint with the Flyers in 2010, he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis or AVN in his right hip and it nearly ended his career.  Luckily, the doctors caught the disease before it spread and did a bone graft to repair it.

“It was a shock to me,” Emery said. “Being an athlete you feel invincible. When somebody gives you news like that, you almost don’t believe it.  I’m very fortunate that I had that operation. It stopped the deterioration of my hip and the function came back to 100 percent.

“I was that close to not being able to play the sport.”

The 30-year-old Emery said coming that close to seeing his career end has given him the confidence to get through difficult stretches of games during the course of a season.

“You gain confidence just because of past experiences,” said Emery, who credits the Flyers with helping him find the doctors needed to treat his condition. “It’s just kind of a process involved when overcoming things that pop up.”

A rejuvenated Emery comes back to the Flyers after helping to lead the Chicago Black Hawks to the 2013 Stanley Cup title.  He signed a one-year contract with the Flyers last week worth $1.65 million.  The Flyers also signed former New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit and former Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent LeCavalier.

Emery is coming off a regular season where he went 17-1 backing up fellow Black Hawks goal tender Corey Crawford.   Emery also had an average of 1.94 in goals against (number of goals scored on him) and a .920 save percentage.

To start the 2013 season, Emery set an NHL record by winning 12 straight games as the goalie for the Black Hawks.  During his first stint with the Flyers in the 2009-2010 season, he was 16-11. He had a 2.64 goals against average and .908 save percentage.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren believes the Flyers are a better team with (from left to right) former New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit, goalie Ray Emery and former Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent LeCavalier. Photo by Chris Murray.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren believes the Flyers are a better team with (from left to right) former New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit, goalie Ray Emery and former Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent LeCavalier. Photo by Chris Murray.

Emery’s hip injury in March of 2010 kept him out of the Flyers run to the Stanley Cup finals. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said he’s glad to have him back, but still wonders what would have happened if he had Emery in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.

“He’s one of the better goalies in the league,” said Holmgren. “If you look at Ray’s record since he’s been in the NHL all he does is win. You can even go back to the short time he was here. I remember his last game, he shutout Calgary 3-0 (in 2010) and then we got that phone call that his hip was bad.

“Everybody remembers our goaltending situation after that. Who didn’t we have playing after that? If we had Ray Emery that year, who knows? It’s easy to look back and say who knows, I guess.”

Oddly enough, during the Black Hawks march to the Stanley Cup, Emery was on the bench mainly because he had a groin injury prior to the playoffs and because Crawford was hot and Chicago was winning.

“That’s how it goes. Like I said there’s a certain part of you that wants to be in there,” Emery said. “But it’s your team. It was so exciting watching your team and being part of it.”

Coming to the Flyers, Emery will be competing for the starting goalie position with Steve Mason.  Even with the possibility of having to split time, Emery said he’s willing to do his part help the team to win.

“It’s more about the relationship,” Emery said. “It’s more about making it comfortable and getting the most out of both guys.”

Since starting his NHL career with the Ottawa Senators in 2002-2003, he has   compiled a 126-63 record. He was the goalie for the Senators when they lost to Anaheim in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals.

Emery is one of 22 Black players currently playing in the NHL.

At this year’s NHL Draft, two Black players—Seth Jones, taken fourth by the Nashville Predators, and Darnell Nurse who was the seventh pick by the Edmonton Oilers-are the first to be taken in the top 10 of the NHL Draft.

Emery said he doesn’t mind being a role model to get more Black kids interested in the sport.

“It exciting when you’re a kid to have someone that if you’re interested in hockey and you’re a Black kid to have someone to look up to,” Emery said. “When I was a kid I had Grant Fuhr and Tony McKegney, a select few guys to look up to. I hope we can expand the game to different demographics. I think that’s a good thing.”

 

Fading Fast: Flyers Lack of Offense is Killing Their Postseason Chances

12 Apr

By Chris Murray

Claude Giroux scored the only Flyers in the loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Claude Giroux scored the only Flyers in the loss to the Ottawa Senators.

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday

With season dwindling down to just eight games left in the season, the Flyers playoff chances on are on life support and are about to fade to black.

The Flyers are seven points behind the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot in the NHL with three teams ahead of them. From this point forward they have no margin for error.

“I think everyone’s still going to put in a good effort right up to the end. There’s no question about that,” said Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn. “Guys still have a lot to play for, but obviously everybody’s a little bit frustrated.

“I think guys are probably squeezing the stick too tight. Obviously, we’re not scoring very many goals. I know everyone’s working and competing and we’re going to do it to the very end.”

It was another night the Flyers couldn’t get anything going offensively and the Ottawa Senators came away with a 3-1 victory at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday night.

“All losses are tough,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. “We’re in the business of winning hockey games. Not getting that done is frustrating at this point.”

Ottawa got what turned out to be the winning score on a power-play goal by left winger Colin Greening. The Flyers were a man down because of a high-sticking double minor on Claude Giroux whose stick ended up on the face of Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad.

The Senators added an empty by Daniel Alfredsson in the last 10 seconds of the game.

Not only was it the Flyers third straight loss, it was also the third consecutive game in which they could muster no more than one goal.  In a season that has been hot and cold, it was another frustrating night of not being able to put the puck in the net.

“We got to find a way of getting more pucks to the net, more traffic and we have to be a little bit more  hungry than we are right now,” said Flyers center Claude Giroux. “We’re not getting the job done right now and so we have to figure out something there.”

For a team that was fighting for whatever faint playoff hopes it supposedly has, the Flyers didn’t come out with a sense of urgency in the first period.

Ottawa jumped on the board with a breakaway by center Zack Smith, who took a pass from Mark Methot and slid the puck past goal Ilya Brzygalov. Smith was able to have a clear shot at Brzygalov because the Flyers were in the middle of a line change and simply caught got napping.

With the exception of the two goals, Brzygalov did a good job of guarding the net for the Flyers. He had 31 saves.

But later in the period, the Flyers evened the game at 1-1 with 7:44 left on a short-handed  goal by Claude Giroux who deflected a shot by Simon Gagne past goalie Robin Lehner.

Through the first two periods, the Senators outshot the Flyers 24-14. In the second period, the Flyers had just seven shots on goal. The Flyers picked up the pace in the third period and had 13 shots on goal but couldn’t get anything past Lehner.

The Flyers are 0-for-2 on the power play. On their first opportunity at the beginning of the third period, the Flyers couldn’t get off a shot. On their second midway the period, the Flyers had five shots on goal, but came up short.

“I thought the third period was our best period,” Laviolette said. “It generated the most offense, probably played the tightest defensively that we played that period, but we didn’t get the results we were looking for.”

Offense Comes Up Big For Flyers in Win Over Carolina

3 Feb

By Chris Murray

Ilya Bryzgalov had 42 saves for the Flyers in their win over the Carolina Hurricanes

Ilya Bryzgalov had 42 saves for the Flyers in their win over the Carolina Hurricanes

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.