Michael Raffl falls along the boards in the Flyers' 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes. (AP)
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina, New Jersey and Edmonton.
Three struggling hockey teams. Not that the Flyers aren’t, either.
If ever there was a week for Craig Berube’s team to claw higher into the Metropolitan Division standings, this is it. There’s six points up for grabs that could go to the Flyers ... with a little scoring luck.
“You definitely have a chance to gain ground,” Berube said before the Flyers' game on Monday night. “You don’t look at it as [Carolina] struggling. This team is gonna play hard. They’re ready to play. They lost five in a row. They’re desperate. You got to make sure you got your game going for 60 minutes.”
Well, two of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL couldn’t score on each other Tuesday night at PNC Arena, although Carolina by far had the better scoring chances.
In the end, the Hurricanes won 2-1 in overtime on a late comeback and a breakaway goal from Manny Malhotra.
Were it not for Flyers goalie Steve Mason, the Hurricanes would have had four to five goals, easy. He continues to give the Flyers a chance to get two points every game.
Mason was temporarily rewarded with Scott Hartnell’s power-play goal at 16:02 of the third period. It was Hartnell’s first point of the season, too, on a tip in front of the net. However, the 1-0 lead didn’t last long.
Nathan Gerbe drew a double minor with a skirmish in front of the Flyers' net involving Mark Streit to set up that power play.
That was quickly erased when Jordan Staal snuck in behind Claude Giroux to tie it up in the final minute of regulation.
Hartnell’s goal went to review for a high-stick but his stick was not above the crossbar.
The Flyers blew a good one in the first period off a brutal Carolina turnover in front of goalie Justin Peters. Two things happened. First, Matt Read couldn’t handle the puck. When he got control of it and dished to Sean Couturier in the right slot, the Flyers’ centerman shot it off the post.
Peters made a great glove save on Kimmo Timonen’s one-timer in the slot late in the opening period.
The second period's final minutes saw Mason absolutely stone Gerbe with a glove-hand save on a power play that quickly turned into a two-man Carolina advantage that carried over 33 seconds into the third period. The Flyers survived it thanks to Mason.
Zac Rinaldo was very upset after taking a shot to the chin from Staal late in the second period that dropped him to the ice without drawing a penalty.
Going into the third period, the Flyers had scored just one goal in their previous 203 minutes, 26 seconds. It ended at 219:28 with Hartnell’s goal. Mason had an outstanding shoulder save on Alexander Semin six minutes into the third period. Semin had some good scoring chances in the game.
The Flyers had zero Saturday night in New Jersey. They had five after one period in Carolina.
Defensemen Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson; forward Jay Rosehill.
The last time the Flyers played the Hurricanes on the road was Oct. 6. The Flyers lost, 2-1. Coach Peter Laviolette was fired the next morning.
That’s what referee Steve Kosari did in the first period during a Flyers' power play. He accidentally got in Jakub Voracek’s way and it created a two-on-one, shorthanded rush with Gerbe and Staal. Incredibly, Mason got his blocker on Staal’s shot on what should have been an easy goal.
Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish were both scouting the game. The Flyers meet Edmonton this weekend in Philly. However, Lowe was also scouting for Team Canada (Sochi Olympics) and eager to see Eric Staal and Giroux going head-to-head for his report back to head coach Mike Babcock and main assistant Ken Hitchcock. … The latest Bovada odds from Las Vegas show the Flyers have fallen from 22/1 to win the Stanley Cup to 66/1. ... PNC Arena was half-empty for the game.