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.
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.