Flyers 5, Hurricanes 1

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—With two road losses in two nights, the Carolina Hurricanes are perilously on the brink of spending the postseason at home instead of defending the Stanley Cup.

Martin Biron stopped a penalty shot among his 23 saves and the Philadelphia Flyers stymied Carolina’s playoff push with a 5-1 win Wednesday night.

“We need to put a good streak together,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.

The Hurricanes could have moved into a playoff position in the Eastern Conference with a win. Instead, the defending champions are still on the outside of the cutoff line after their second loss in two nights.

They lost 6-1 at Toronto on Tuesday night and desperately need points out of all their final five games if they want to get back to the postseason.

“Obviously, these are tough losses,” Laviolette said. “We’re in a fight to get back into the playoffs, so we need wins and we need to come on the road and take away points. We took away nothing.”

The NHL-worst Flyers were all but eliminated from the postseason picture in November and entered on a four-game losing streak. But sturdy goaltending from Biron, two goals from Jeff Carter, and one each from Derian Hatcher, Mike Knuble and Braydon Coburn were enough for only their ninth home win this season.

Ray Whitney scored his 30th goal for the Hurricanes, who have 84 points with five games left and trail Montreal and Tampa Bay by two points each for the final playoff spot. Montreal and Tampa Bay were both idle Wednesday night.

“It doesn’t mean we’re out of the playoffs by any means,” forward Craig Adams said. “Our fate is going to be in our hands. To lose two in a row is certainly going to make it a lot tougher.”

The Flyers went up 1-0 on Carter’s 12th goal of the season late in the first.

Then the Flyers got feisty after Adams drilled defenseman Denis Gauthier into the boards behind the net. Flyers defenseman Randy Jones went after Adams and got into a fight in the circle and was hit with a double minor. When the Flyers killed the penalty, they got one of the loudest ovations of the year.

While Gauthier sprained his right wrist, the fight might have sparked them.

A hooking penalty against Carolina was still being announced when Hatcher slid the puck between John Grahame’s pads for a power-play goal and a 2-0 lead midway through the second. Grahame made 20 saves.

Minutes later, Biron got to prove why the Flyers awarded him a $7 million, two-year contract a day earlier that firmly established him as their No. 1 goalie.

Flyers defenseman Lasse Kukkonen closed his hand on the puck in the crease, setting up a penalty shot. Justin Williams streaked down the ice, but his shot was wide right and knocked off of Biron’s leg pad and glove as the crowd roared in celebration.

“I’m not known to be a great penalty shot or shootout guy, but you get lucky once in a while,” Biron said.

Whitney pulled the Hurricanes to 2-1 with his shot from the point with 3.7 seconds to go.

Any momentum the Hurricanes were hoping would carry over into the third was wiped out once Knuble and Coburn scored a little more than 90 seconds apart for a 4-1 lead.

Carter added an empty-net goal with 32.7 seconds left.

“We found a way to get that momentum back, get after it and have a great third period,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “Certainly, it was a great sign for us.”

Notes

C Eric Staal had his 37th assist on Whitney’s goal and has notched a point in four straight games. … RW Scottie Upshall sat out with a shoulder injury. … Biron is 5-5-1 with the Flyers since he was acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline.

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Three Stars

  Three Stars
D. Hatcher
D. Hatcher
Flyers - D
Goals: 1
Assists: 1
M. Biron
M. Biron
Flyers - G
Saves: 23
Save Pct.: .958
M. Knuble
M. Knuble
Flyers - RW
Goals: 1
Assists: 2

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
John Grahame NYI 24 20

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Mar 28