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Jeff Carter helps Flyers top Hurricanes in overtime with NHL-best 19th goal

RALEIGH, N.C. – Jeff Carter had no thoughts about taking NHL lead in goals. He would have been just as happy with an assist off a faceoff in overtime.

The Philadelphia forward didn’t have to make a choice. He won the faceoff and netted the winner in the Flyers 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Carter, tied with Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek with a league-best 19 goals, spun around Rod Brind’Amour after winning the draw and fired a shot through the pads of Michael Leighton at 3:34 of overtime. That gave Philadelphia its eighth win in 11 games.

“It was kind of a broken play,” Carter said. “I was actually trying to go back to the point, but it bounced straight up. I got a little positioning and spun it at (the) five-hole.”

The Flyers improved to 7-3-3 on the road and handed the Hurricanes their fifth consecutive home loss and second in a row since coach Peter Laviolette was fired and replaced by Paul Maurice.

The game continued a pattern for both teams. The Flyers improved to 12-1-4 when scoring first, getting Mike Richards’ 11th goal less than four minutes in. The Hurricanes allowed the first goal for the 12th consecutive game and eighth in a row at home.

“We just keep battling,” Carter said. “It’s definitely not a position we want to be in – one-goal games, overtimes and shootouts. We never give up. We had our chances to really end it (before overtime). I don’t know. We just keep going.”

The Hurricanes keep struggling on the power play, giving up one goal early on their advantage before breaking through early in the third period.

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On Carolina’s first of four failed power plays in the first period, Richards took a pass from Simon Gagne and beat Leighton for the Flyers’ 11th short-handed goal of the season. Richard has scored four of those.

“It seems like every time we get a good kill or score a short-handed goal, it builds momentum for us,” Richards said. “Specialty teams are such a big factor. It seems like if you come out of it on the plus side of special teams you’re going to win the game.”

Sergei Samsonov’s power-play goal tied it 1-1 with 19:05 left in regulation. The Hurricanes entered 29th in the NHL in power-play success.

Leighton, making his second consecutive start in place of injured Cam Ward, saved 29 shots for the Hurricanes, but he couldn’t get a handle on Carter’s wide-angle shot in overtime.

“It needs to be stopped,” Maurice said. “It’s a shot from an angle there that he knows I’m sure that he needs to have.”

Notes: Ward missed his second full game. Maurice said Ward has a groin injury and that he wouldn’t return until he was at full strength. … Carolina D Niclas Wallin left in the third period due to a leg injury. Maurice doesn’t expect Wallin to play Sunday at home against Washington. Gagne also has scored four short-handed goals with four. Philadelphia has gone to overtime in four five games.