Often, two shorthanded goals in a game are enough to energize and fuel a team to victory in the NHL.
The Carolina Hurricanes got just that Monday from hustling forward Patrick Dwyer. His first came with less than a second to play in the first period, and the second on a shorthanded penalty shot in the third.
But it wasn't enough to beat the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers, getting two goals and an assist from Claude Giroux, held off the Canes for a 5-3 victory at the RBC Center.
Max Talbot, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read also scored for the Flyers (10-4-3), and Sergei Bobrovsky made just enough timely saves to get the job done in net. Bobrovsky couldn't handle Dwyer, who picked up his first two goals of the season. Tuomo Ruutu scored for the Canes in the second period for his third goal in the past two games.
"It's nice to get 'em. I knew I wasn't going to go all year without scoring," Dwyer said. "It would be nice to get a 'W,' too."
The Canes (6-9-3) were looking to build on a hard-fought 5-3 victory Saturday over the Pittsburgh Penguins. But Giroux gave the Flyers an early 1-0 lead on a breakaway, and Talbot's goal pushed the lead to 2-0.
Dwyer's first "shortie" came after he knocked the puck away from forward James van Riemsdyk near the blue line and converted off a two-on-one rush with Eric Staal. That made it 2-1 at the first intermission and had Canes fans roaring.
But Giroux scored again early in the second on a bullet from the left circle. Giroux nearly made it a hat trick on a power play a few minutes later, getting off a shot that beat Canes goalie Cam Ward, but Simmonds got a piece for a 4-1 lead.
Canes coach Paul Maurice lifted Ward at that point, at 6:57 of the second, and sent in Brian Boucher. Ruutu's goal, on assists from Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Skinner, then pulled Carolina within 4-2 in the second and Boucher was steady in net.
Carolina's Tim Brent was penalized for tripping at 3:24 of the third. But Dwyer was soon off again on a breakaway to force the penalty shot at 4:36.
Dwyer, who said his last penalty shot probably came "in minor hockey maybe," blasted another shot past Bobrovsky for his second "shortie." He was the first Hurricanes player to have two shorthanded goals in a game since Justin Williams on April 7, 2006.
On most nights, Maurice said, "It's good enough to get you there."
But the Hurricanes kept taking penalties - Tomas Kaberle for hooking, Alexei Ponikarovsky for interference, Ruutu for hooking. The Canes killed them off and kept buzzing around Bobrovsky, as Staal, Chad LaRose and Brandon Sutter had a number of scoring chances, but couldn't tie it up.
"He made two or three great saves on LaRose alone to keep that game where it was," Maurice said.
Read finally knocked in a shot off the rush with less than four minutes left for the clincher.
"I think we gave them too much time and too much space," Boucher said. "I don't know if that is a sense of giving them respect or what (but) I think after the (goaltender) change we snapped out of it and started to be a bit more aggressive and started playing with some urgency."
Dwyer, who had the first two-goal game of his career, didn't like losing but said he sensed the Hurricanes were coming together as a team.
"If we're going to win a hockey game it's going to be fighting," he said. "We're not going to go out and out-skill many teams. We've got skill, but top to bottom we're not as deep as a lot of teams and we're going to win on our work ethic.
"We're finding our identity as a team. We're getting around that corner as a group."