Saturday, December 13, 2014

Laughton's milestone helps Flyers turn away Hurricanes

Philadelphia,  PA -- Say what you want about the immediate past, the Orange and Black are certainly making good use of their present.

Wayne Simmonds and Jakub  Voracek  each posted  a goal  and an assist, while Scott Laughton not only posted his first NHL but also collected his initial multi-point effort,  as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-1, on Saturday, to win back-to-back games for the first time since early November.

Michael  Raffl and  Sean Couturier each scored while Steve Mason made 25 saves for the Flyers, who have won the first two games of a four-game homestand that continues Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

“I think we were playing well before we started to get points. But it was a matter of keeping it going," said Simmonds. "And we kept it going. And we’ve been playing a lot better defensively. And a lot more guys are starting to contribute offensively now and it’s helping. It’s definitely helping.”

Eric  Staal  had the lone goal  of the game  for the Hurricanes, who have lost five straight. Anton Khudobin allowed all five goals on 23 shots in the loss.

"We've  got to  compete, be better defensively, manage the puck, move the puck better and that will give us a better chance," Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.

It took just 53 seconds for the Flyers to grab the lead, as Couturier was able to  put  in his own  rebound from the  right side for  his seventh goal of the season.

The  Flyers made it a 2-0 game at 11:27 of the first when Brayden Schenn fired a  pass off the  right boards for Simmonds, who leaned into the shot that beat Khudobin cleanly for his 13th goal of the year.

Just  2:06 into the  second, the Hurricanes got on the board with a power-play goal  as  Staal flew  down the  left wing  and was  able to  beat Mason with a wraparound from the right side.

Philly,  though,  got it back less  than three minutes later with a power-play marker  of its own.  Claude Giroux sent a pass from the left boards to the low left  side where  Simmonds quickly  snapped it  to the  right of  the net  and Voracek finished it off for his 11th of the season.

The Czech winger temporarily assumed the NHL's scoring lead with 37 points, one ahead of Tyler Seguin and two points ahead of Evgeni Malkin and the resting Sidney Crosby.

Laughton  was able to  notch his first career goal at 7:29 of the second as he picked  the puck up along the right-wing boards and banged a wrister in off the far post. The 20-year-old Ontario native had picked up just one point in his previous 17 outings with the Flyers over parts of two seasons.

"It's nice to get that one to get it out of the way and just keep going," said Laughton. "I think it definitely weighs in the back of your mind. I thought I had opportunities every game and I had offensive chances playing with those two guys."

It  was a 5-1  game 2 1/2 minutes later after Raffl banged home a rebound from the left side for his eighth of the season.

Mason turned aside 11 shots in the final period to polish off the win.

Notes: The Flyers, who recorded the largest margin in any victory this season, blocked 24 Hurricanes shots ... This  was the first  of five matchups between these clubs this year ...  Carolina  plays at  Montreal on  Tuesday ... Giroux  finished  with two assists and moved alone into fifth place in the NHL scoring race with 34 points ...  Couturier has a six-game point streak, with three goals and four assists during that time.

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