RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)—The way the points are piling up on the road, the Philadelphia Flyers might never want to go home.
Good thing, too. They have seven more games left on their 11-game trip.
Sami Kapanen scored in overtime for the second straight game after NHL goal leader Simon Gagne tied it midway through the third period, and the Flyers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Thursday night.
“I think there’s a tremendous feeling of team in the locker room,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Nobody wants to be the person that lets the other person down right now. If you stay with that feeling, you can take a long run.”
About 90 seconds into the extra period, Kapanen had a shot blocked by Niclas Wallin, then eluded his defender to corral the rebound and put it past goalie Cam Ward to give the Flyers their sixth straight victory on the road. Kapanen needed only 13 seconds a night earlier in Atlanta to beat the Thrashers.
“I didn’t feel that good, I was more tired than (Wednesday),” said Kapanen, who was traded by the Hurricanes to the Flyers nearly two years ago. “There was a big difference in my game. I tried to keep my shifts short.”
Matt Cullen had two goals off assists from Ray Whitney, and Ward made 36 saves in his first start in nearly a month for the Hurricanes, who lost their third in a row. Two came in overtime, however, so they at least salvaged some points.
Frantisek Kaberle also had a pair of assists for Carolina.
“We’re not here to lose in overtime, we’re here to win hockey games,” Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. “They had a little more bite for the puck than we did. That’s a big team. They’ve got some big players.”
Cullen gave Carolina the lead early in the final period off a nifty pass from Whitney, who controlled an errant shot by Mike Commodore and centered the puck with his back to the net. Cullen was there to poke it past Antero Niittymaki for his third two-goal game of the season.
Gagne tied it with his 27th goal of the season, deflecting a slap shot from Kim Johnsson to make it 3-3. Freddy Meyer got his first NHL goal and Brian Savage also scored for the Flyers, who extended their lead in the Atlantic Division to five points over the New York Rangers.
“A win on the road like this, we know it’s never easy, especially here in Carolina,” Gagne said. “Both teams were tired after traveling. But I feel very good at the end when you finally get the two points.”
After Savage gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead early in the second period, Carolina rallied with two power-play goals in a 58-second span. Cory Stillman got the first when he stuffed in a rebound of his own shot, and Cullen worked a perfect give-and-go with Whitney to give the Hurricanes the lead for the first time.
Both goals came with Chris Therien in the penalty box with a double-minor for high sticking.
“The bottom line is that we didn’t play as well as we can,” Cullen said. “To play a team like that, in an atmosphere like that, we want to win in front of our home crowd. It’s disappointing when you don’t.”
Carolina LW Erik Cole left the game late in regulation when Meyer dove below his check along the boards, causing Cole to go in head first. He left under his own power with a bloody forehead. … Flyers D Mike Rathje avoided serious enjoy earlier when Rod Brind’Amour’s shot hit him in the throat. Rathje immediately fell to the ice before also leaving with little assistance, and he later returned. … The announced crowd of 18,730 was the third sellout of the season for the Hurricanes.