Amonte had a goal and an assist in the third period of his first game with his new team and LeClair notched a power-play goal in his return to the lineup as the Flyers snapped a three-game skid with a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Amonte, a three-time 40-goal scorer, was acquired from Phoenix on Monday for left wing Guillaume Lefebvre and a pair of draft picks.
The five-time All-Star assisted on Keith Primeau’s power-play goal less than a minute into the third to make it 3-2 and scored the eventual game-winner with 8:10 remaining to double the lead.
“I could barely sleep this afternoon or last night,” Amonte said. “I just wanted to get out there and get that first game under your belt and make it a good one. Playing with JR (Jeremy Roenick) and Marty (Murray) doesn’t hurt at all. They see the ice well.”
Roenick and Murray each had an assist as the Flyers pulled within two points of first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.
“I think there was an excitement level based on what could happen,” Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. “There is the potential to score goals. There is the potential to make good plays. We have the people that in different ways can break games, whether it’s physical like John or with speed like Tony.”
LeClair missed 47 games following surgery to repair a dislocated right shoulder.
The only player in team history with five straight 40-goal seasons, LeClair broke a 1-1 deadlock just over five minutes into the second period with his 12th goal.
“It felt good to be able to do some things that I have to do,” LeClair said. “I have to be able to hold some guys off, hang on to the puck and try to force things to the net. I was able to do that a little bit and, hopefully, I can get better at it the more I play.”
Primeau and defenseman Eric Desjardins each registered a goal and an assist for Philadelphia, which scored just three times during its losing streak.
Rookie Bruno St. Jacques, a former Flyer defenseman, scored for the Hurricanes, who had a season-high four-game winning streak snapped.
“We were treading water with sandbags out there after playing in overtime last night (at Buffalo),” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. “We were just fighting. They controlled the play. I’m not saying that we were there, but on the scoreboard we were.”
The game was tied, 2-2, at the start of the third period and Hurricanes defenseman Sean Hill was serving a double-minor when Amonte’s shot from the left faceoff circle was stopped by goaltender Patrick DesRochers. Primeau tapped in the rebound for his first goal in 10 games.
“We were as good as we have been all year,” Primeau said. “We had as much energy offensively as we had all year. When you add guys like Tony Amonte and John LeClair, those things are going to happen. Both of those guys were great for us.”
With 8:10 remaining, Amonte’s rising snap shot beat DesRochers to the stick side to give Philadelphia a 4-2 cushion.
Newcomer Radim Vrbata scored his second goal in as many games for Carolina just 68 seconds later, but defenseman Dmitry Yushkevich - reacquired on March 1 - netted his second of the season with 2:48 left to cap the scoring.
The Flyers had the man advantage in the second when Michal Handzus fed LeClair behind the net. Also a five-time All-Star, LeClair beat DesRochers on a wraparound effort to give Philadelphia its first lead, 2-1.
“It was so much fun watching John and Tony out there,” Roenick said. “It’s as comfortable as I’ve felt out there in a long time. Watching them score was a real treat tonight. It was a big win in our own building.”
LeClair’s goal was his first since November 21.
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