Road rough on Canes

Flyers' Bobrovsky tough in goal

Staff writerNovember 2, 2010 

— It's all beginning to wear on the Carolina Hurricanes.

The travel. Road games. Good teams. Tough games.

For the Canes, playing the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday at Wells Fargo Center offered yet another good, tough test in a season that already has had several. On this night, the Flyers simply were too good and a little too tough, winning 3-2.

The Flyers got two goals from Scott Hartnell, one in the first and one in the third period, and a Claude Giroux power-play goal in the second period.

The Hurricanes didn't have an answer, not against goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, with their goals coming on a Patrick Dwyer breakaway early in the second and Joe Corvo's blast with 26.8 seconds to play.

"That seems to be the theme right now, not getting the bounces," Dwyer said. "If we keep working hard at it and keep pushing ourselves, the bounces will start coming our way and we'll be able to get this monkey off our backs and start putting some pucks in the net."

The day didn't begin well for the Flyers, who have won their past four games. Forward Danny Briere was suspended for three games by the NHL for his crosscheck to the head of the New York Islanders' Frans Neilsen on Saturday.

But the Flyers (7-4-1) have enough depth, enough talent. They have proven scorers such as Hartnell and rising star Giroux, whom teammate Jody Shelley called "Mr. October" after Giroux finished the month with six goals and 11 points.

Hartnell scored an even-strength goal at 12:29 of the first, circling behind the net and getting position in front of Canes goalie Justin Peters, who made his second start of the season. Hartnell stumbled but collected a rebound and whipped a backhander past Peters for a 1-0 lead.

Dwyer tied it at 3:05 of the second after forcing a turnover near the Carolina blue line. Rookie Jeff Skinner got the puck up the ice to Dwyer, who beat Bobrovsky with a high shot to the glove side.

The Hurricanes seemingly had momentum. They killed off the end of a Flyers power play to begin the second period, then got the Dwyer goal.

"I liked where we were at that point, at 2-1, and some of the offense we were getting. Then we got behind it a little," Canes coach Paul Maurice said.

The Flyers kept pressuring the Canes and Peters. At 11:16 of the period, Canes defenseman Joni Pitkanen was called for a hooking penalty.

Five seconds later, it was 2-1, Philly. Giroux won the faceoff against Brandon Sutter, getting the puck to Mike Richards, who quickly passed back to Giroux in the slot for an open shot and goal.

Another lost faceoff by the Canes resulted in Hartnell's second goal, with 13:30 left in the third. Kimmo Timonen unloaded a shot, the puck nicking Hartnell's skate and past Peters to make it 3-1.

"I felt pretty comfortable and just tried to battle all night," Peters said. "We were so close, [but] an unfortunate bounce off [Hartnell's] skate. There were a lot of good things tonight, but unfortunately some bad bounces."

Faceoffs have been a problem for the Canes (5-6-0), who are last in the NHL - by a wide margin.

"It's been a bit of a problem, no question about that," Maurice said. " ... Our percentage has got to improve, no doubt about it."

Bobrovsky didn't have many tough saves, but he did stop Erik Cole's shot midway through the third that would have cut the lead to one.

A year ago, Bobrovsky was in the Kontinental Hockey League. But the 22-year-old, the youngest goalie ever to start for the Flyers on opening night, has made the most of his opportunity after Michael Leighton injured his back.

Both teams had AHL call-ups in their lineups -- Jon Matsumoto of the Canes and Eric Wellwood of the Flyers.

In a six-day period, the Hurricanes faced the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and then the Flyers.

That's a tough run.

"What we're talking about here now is that the attention to detail has to be almost perfect because we're not getting there as fast as we were a week ago," Maurice said. "That's all right.

"We've just got to get the rest we can get on our off days and find a way to drive your legs a little harder and get more guys off the bench."

chip.alexander@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8945

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