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Flyers ride power play to win over Hurricanes

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- An effective power-play unit and a sharp goaltender got the Philadelphia Flyers back on the winning track.

Kurtis Foster, Danny Briere and Claude Giroux scored power-play goals to lead Philadelphia to a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 39 saves, including several tough ones in the second period, to help Philadelphia snap a three-game losing streak and improve to 3-6.

"It's been a tough start, not the record we want," Giroux said. "All the guys are ready to play hard every game. We're not going to quit. It's early in the season."

Mike Knuble and Brayden Coburn also had goals for the Flyers, who are 23-4-4 against Carolina since Nov. 28, 2003.

Coming off a 1-0 victory over Ottawa on Friday night, the Hurricanes were shaky from the start. They got goals from Patrick Dwyer, Joni Pitkanen and Eric Staal.

The Flyers were just 5 of 40 on the power play before scoring on their first three chances.

"It's just about making the right plays on the power play," Giroux said. "When everybody on the ice knows what they're doing, it makes things easier."

It also helps to have a goalie making all the saves.

"He was tremendous tonight," Knuble said of Bryzgalov. "He was seeing everything and gathering all the rebounds."

Goals by Coburn and Briere just 58 seconds apart gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead in the first period.

Coburn skated along with Jakub Voracek during an odd-man rush and put a rebound into an open net after Ellis stopped Voracek's slap shot.

Briere then tipped in Giroux's side-angle shot to give the Flyers their first two-goal cushion.

That lasted 33 seconds.

Staal took advantage of a giveaway in front by Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn and beat Bryzgalov to cut it to 3-2.

"I thought our five-on-five game was pretty good, getting pucks to the net, being aggressive on the forecheck, and really had them on their heels there in the third period," Staal said. "We were hoping for a comeback and when we get on that power play we have to capitalize and we're not doing that right now."

The Hurricanes were 1 of 6 on the power play and are 4 of 36 this season.

In the opening minute of the second period, Knuble scored on a wraparound after Carolina's Justin Faulk turned the puck over behind the net.

Knuble, the 40-year-old veteran, returned to the Flyers last week after playing three seasons in Washington. The goal sent Dan Ellis to the bench in favor of Cam Ward.

Later in the period, Giroux scored his first goal in seven games to make it 5-2.

Dwyer got the Hurricanes within 5-3 when he scored a power-play goal 3:29 into the third period. It was Carolina's fourth power-play goal in 34 opportunities.

Foster gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 5:08 into the game. He took a crossing pass from Matt Read and fired a slap shot from the right point into the top shelf over Ellis' glove.

Bryzgalov made a big save on a breakaway shot at the opposite end before Foster scored his first goal as a Flyer.

"Bryz was a really strong player for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.

Pitkanen, a former Flyer, tied it at 1 by blasting a slap shot over Bryzgalov's blocker a few minutes later.

Shortly after the goal, Philadelphia's Tom Sestito and Carolina's Jay Harrison dropped the gloves near the Flyers' crease. Sestito landed a solid right to the left side of Harrison's face but then was spun down to the ice.

"We didn't play bad by any means, but I think our penalty kill, they

had a few power-play goals that our PK's got to be better at," Carolina's Jordan Staal said. "We got a lot of opportunities. Pucks just didn't go in toward the end there and we tried to make a final push in the third and it just wasn't quite there."

NOTES: The Flyers were without forward Wayne Simmonds, who was injured Friday night when Washington's John Erskine hit him in the face with an elbow that bloodied his nose. General manager Paul Holmgren said Simmonds has head and neck injuries and will be evaluated again Sunday. Erskine was suspended three games by the NHL for the hit. ... Laviolette coached the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006. ... Carolina opened a season-long six-game road trip. ... Staal has a point in five straight games. ... Knuble scored his first goal since rejoining the Flyers. ... Ellis was pulled after allowing four goals in 20:52. He posted a shutout in a 1-0 victory over Ottawa on Friday night.
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