Staal, Malone lead Hurricanes past Flyers 2-1
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The goal-challenged Carolina Hurricanes didn't exactly light up the scoreboard Friday night, but they're hoping their 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night is a sign of good things to come.
Carolina relied on a solid game from Cam Ward, who has had to endure the Hurricanes' lack of offense this season. The Hurricanes won for just the third time since early December, reaching two goals for the fourth time in the past 14 games.
''Playing with a lead, it helps relax everybody,'' said Ward, who finished with 20 saves. ''It's no secret that it's been difficult sometimes to score goals for our hockey club, so to come up with a big goal early and respond again in the second period, was uplifting. It was huge.''
The Flyers, who have lost four in a row, are breathing easier after an injury to captain Claude Giroux was deemed not as serious as it appeared it might have been. Giroux left with 15 minutes left after suffering a cut on his left leg from the skate of Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk.
Giroux said afterward he probably could play Saturday at New Jersey, Philadelphia's last game on an eight-game road trip.
Giroux, who has 13 goals and 30 assists this season, said he was lucky the injury he suffered was not more serious. He also credited thicker socks with helping lessen the severity of the cut, for which he was helped off the ice and taken to the Hurricanes' dressing room for medical attention.
''I knew I got hit,'' said Giroux, who did not know how many stitches he received. ''I kind of tried to put pressure on it, and it felt really weird. . I'm just happy I'm good.''
The Hurricanes got a boost from new father Jordan Staal, who has two assists in two games after missing three months with a broken right fibula suffered in the preseason. Staal was in the lineup about 17 hours after his wife gave birth to their first child, Abigail, early Friday.
Staal hit the post on a shot in the second period during a flurry that eventually led to his brother Eric scoring on a rebound. Eric Staal's goal, his 10th of the season, put Carolina ahead 2-0 at 41 seconds of the second period.
Eric Staal said life was easier playing on the same line as his younger - but bigger - brother.
''He's a big, strong man who can control pucks and get on the forecheck,'' Eric Staal said. ''He creates more open ice in the neutral zone.''
Philadelphia, which got 24 saves from Steve Mason, fell to 6-12-4 on the road and 4-15-4 when allowing the first goal. Philadelphia didn't reach the 10-shot mark until the final five minutes of the second period and was outshot 26-21 overall.
Chris Vandevelde scored his second of the season for Philadelphia, taking a pass from Vincent Lecavalier and beating Ward with 11:07 remaining.
Carolina allowed no goals on three power plays by Philadelphia, improving to 19 consecutive penalty kills.
Malone opened the scoring for Carolina about 14 minutes into the first period. He skated in on the left and beat Mason to the glove side for his first goal.
Zach Boychuk assisted on the goal, Carolina's sixth in six games. The lead easily could have been larger in the first period, but Brett Bellemore hit the post with 6 seconds left in the period. Mason stopped Jordan Staal and Jay McClement on one-on-one opportunities.
NOTES: The Hurricanes played without forwards Jeff Skinner and Alexander Semin. Skinner has flu-like symptoms, according to coach Bill Peters, who said Semin remained out of the lineup as he tries to return from a ''variety of ailments and illnesses.'' Semin has played once since Dec. 7. . Philadelphia's Lecavalier has five points (four goals, one assist) during the seven road games. Vandevelde's goal was the third of his NHL career.