Bellemore and Murphy lead Hurricanes past Flyers 3-1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Carolina has one of the worst records in the NHL, but the Hurricanes have had no trouble against Philadelphia this season.
Brent Bellemore and Ryan Murphy each scored a goal to lead Carolina to a 3-1 victory over the Flyers on Thursday night.
''We seem to match up with them pretty well,'' Carolina captain Eric Staal said.
Jordan Staal added an empty-netter for the Hurricanes, who snapped a five-game road losing streak while taking their fourth victory in five games against Philadelphia this season.
Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers, while Jakub Voracek went without a point for Philadelphia. Voracek entered Thursday fourth in the league with 81 points, two behind the NHL-leading trio of John Tavares, Jamie Benn and Sidney Crosby.
Philadelphia continued its baffling trend of struggling against non-playoff teams while playing well against postseason contenders. The Flyers lost their 12th straight (0-7-5) to non-playoff teams; they are 9-1-3 over that stretch against playoff clubs.
''I'm mystified, for sure,'' Flyers coach Craig Berube said. ''You have to prepare yourself, compete and skate and work that same way. You have to bring it. You may not have the hatred you have against Pittsburgh, but you have to dig down and find the intensity.''
This one was missing that intensity.
The game pitted a pair of teams not headed for the postseason, and it had a listless feel. The Hurricanes entered with the fifth-worst record in the league while the Flyers had the seventh-worst mark. The biggest rise from the crowd came when Vincent Lecavalier dropped his gloves for the second time in the game during the second period.
Lecavalier, who has suffered through a disappointing season, entered with 14 penalty minutes for the season but had 22 minutes through 1 1/2 periods after a pair of duels with Keegan Lowe, who was making his NHL debut.
Lowe got the better of Lecavalier during a first-period fight before Lecavalier ambushed the rookie while winning their second-period bout. For that one, Lecavalier got an instigation penalty and 10-minute misconduct in addition to a fighting major. Lecavalier didn't play in the third period after suffering an upper-body injury, presumably in the second fight.
There probably was some frustration released for the veteran forward, who has scored just eight of his 411 career goals this season.
''The first time it was just a battle and it ended up happening,'' Lowe said. ''It's hockey, right? If he wanted his lick, he got it (in the second fight). Game's over, we got the win, so I'm happy.''
Lecavalier wasn't available for comment.
Bellmore tallied his second goal of the season when he tipped Eric Staal's pass from the point past Flyers backup goalie Ray Emery with 7:12 left in the first period to put Carolina on the board.
''Coach has been harping all year for the `D' to join the rush,'' Bellmore said. ''Honestly, it's a great play by Eric and I was able to get a stick on it.''
Murphy beat Emery with a one-timer from the point on a power play with 7:09 remaining in the third period.
Couturier tipped home Mark Streit's shot from the point with 3:41 left to pull Philadelphia within a goal.
Cam Ward made 27 saves, improving to 4-0 against Philadelphia this season.
Philadelphia failed to score on the power play, going 0 for 2, to snap a seven-game streak with a goal on the man advantage.
''That's a dangerous team that can cause you sleepless nights watching their power play,'' Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. ''I thought our (penalty kill) was real good.''
Notes: Lowe is the son of Kevin Lowe, the Oilers' team president. ... Philadelphia closes its season by hosting Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, while the Hurricanes end at home against Detroit on Saturday night. ... Dating back to last season, the Flyers have lost four straight and eight of nine to Carolina. ... Flyers C Claude Giroux had an assist, giving him seven goals and five assists in his last 12 games. ... Lecavalier will be evaluated further on Friday.