PHILADELPHIA – An extra skater worked to Philadelphia’s advantage for a change.
Claude Giroux and Danny Briere each had a goal and an assist, and the Flyers broke out of their power-play slump in a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Kurtis Foster, Brayden Coburn and Mike Knuble also scored for the Flyers, who won for just the third time in nine games.
Philadelphia scored three power-play goals on its first three chances. The Flyers came in 5 for 40 on the power play.
“The power play, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t,” Giroux said. “It’s just about making the right plays. When everybody on the ice knows what they’re doing, it makes things easier.”
Joni Pitkanen, Eric Staal and Patrick Dwyer had Carolina’s goals.
“They executed a good power play and they were moving the puck well, and they found the lanes to make the shots,” Staal said. “They got in front and they were able to capitalize. For us, we just weren’t sharp enough.”
Ilya Bryzgalov made several tough saves among his 39 stops and the Flyers continued their dominance over the Hurricanes. They are 23-4-4 against Carolina since Nov. 28, 2003.
Playing just their third home game, the Flyers seemed energized in front of an orange-clad sellout crowd. They scored three goals in an action-filled first period and led the rest of the way.
“I thought we came out hard, had a good start and that first shift set the tone,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
Coburn and Briere scored 58 seconds apart for a 3-1 lead in the first. Coburn put one in after goalie Dan Ellis made a save on Jakub Voracek’s breakaway shot. The rebound kicked out in front to Coburn, who slipped it into an open net.
With a man-advantage, Briere then redirected Giroux’s shot from the side of the net for his first goal of the season.
“We need some more presence in front of the net, trying to find some loose pucks and getting to the gritty areas,” Briere said. “That’s what the coaches have talked about. This was a great play by Claude, threading the needle right between the legs. The goalie was able to make the initial save and I was able to find the rebound.”
But Carolina answered just 33 seconds later when Staal scored after picking up a loose puck following a turnover by Flyers defenceman Luke Schenn.
The Flyers regained their two-goal cushion just 52 seconds into the second when Knuble scored his first goal since rejoining Philadelphia last week after three seasons in Washington.
Matt Read forced a turnover behind the net on a poor clearing attempt by Justin Faulk. Knuble beat Ellis on a wraparound to send him to the bench. Ellis made 33 saves in a 1-0 victory over Ottawa on Friday night.
Giroux’s power-play goal later in the second made it 5-2. Giroux snapped a six-game goal drought with his third of the season.
Dwyer slid one through after a perfect crossing pass from Jordan Staal to get Carolina within 5-3.
In a back-and-forth opening period, the Flyers scored first on Foster’s power-play goal shortly after Bryzgalov made a save on a short-handed breakaway.
Read set it up by faking a shot and passing across to Foster at the right point. Foster skated in a few steps, wound up and fired a slap shot over Ellis’ glove.
The Hurricanes tied it at 1 less than 4 minutes later when Pitkanen’s slap shot beat Bryzgalov over his blocker.
Bryzgalov took a shot to the head from Jiri Tlusty in the final minutes, but finished the game after going down for a brief moment.
“Bryz was a really strong player for us,” Laviolette said.
NOTES: Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds didn’t play because of head and neck injuries sustained Friday night when Washington’s John Erskine elbowed him in the face. Simmonds will be re-evaluated Sunday. Erskine wasn’t penalized after the hit, but received a three-game suspension on Saturday. … The Hurricanes began a season-high six-game road trip. … Carolina was 1 for 6 on the power play and is 4 for 36 on the season. … Eric Staal leads the Hurricanes with six goals and has a point in five straight games.