PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Flyers found an easy way to get out of a recent funk — shoot the puck.
Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist and four other Flyers scored in Philadelphia’s 5-1 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
“I don’t think a lot of guys were shooting the puck,” Simmonds said. “Everyone is starting to shoot the puck now. And when you get shots on net, you’re going to get second and third opportunities. That’s when you’re going to score.”
Scott Laughton got his first career goal and Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl also scored for Philadelphia (11-13-5), which improved to 3-0-2 in its last five. Simmonds has five goals over the stretch.
Eric Staal scored for Carolina (8-18-3), which dropped its fifth straight game. The Hurricanes have scored one goal in each of their last five contests.
“I don’t think our execution was very good,” Staal said. “Obviously, it’s been frustrating. We’ve played some good hockey before tonight, but tonight not good enough all around anywhere.”
Staal pulled the Hurricanes within 2-1 just over three minutes into the second period with a highlight-reel, wraparound tally that snapped Carolina’s 0-for-14 skid on the power play. It was the 100th career power-play goal by the Carolina captain.
But Voracek answered just under three minutes later by firing a wrist shot from close range past sprawling Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin after a nifty cross-ice pass from Simmonds.
“We needed a kill there,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “We have to compete, have to be better defensively, have to manage the puck, have to move the puck better and that’ll give us a better chance.”
The power-play goal gave the Flyers a goal on the man-advantage in seven straight games.
Khudobin, Carolina’s backup, dropped to 0-7-2 this season. He made 18 saves.
Steve Mason made 25 saves for Philadelphia.
Lauhghton made it 4-1 with 12:31 left in the period by racing down the right side before going top shelf on Khudobin’s stick side. The 2012 first-round pick raised his arms in triumph after the tally. Laughton also assisted Simmonds’ first-period goal.
“When you score that goal you don’t really remember anything,” Laughton said. “It definitely was a good feeling. Been a long time coming.”
Raffl scored on a rebound for Philadelphia’s third goal over a 5-minute, 11-second span of the second period, giving Philadelphia a four-goal advantage entering the final period.
Flyers coach Craig Berube was pleased with how his team held the lead in the final 20 minutes.
“We kept skating in third period, kept moving the puck and doing the right thing,” he said. “I was impressed we kept skating and working and kept checking.”
The Flyers scored twice in the opening period, with Couturier staking Philadelphia to a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the contest by beating Khudobin from behind the net. It extended Couturier’s point streak to six straight games, matching the longest such streak of his career. Couturier has three goals and four assists over the stretch.
Simmonds made it 2-0 with 8:33 left in the first period when he ripped a slap shot from the right circle that zoomed past Khudobin’s blocker side.
Besides getting more shots on goal, Simmonds said an increased focus on defense has helped of late.
“We’ve been playing a lot better defensively and a lot more guys are starting to contribute offensively and it’s definitely helping,” he said.
Notes: After sitting five straight games as a healthy scratch, Philadelphia C Vincent Lecavalier (lower body) didn’t dress Saturday due to injury. … Staal’s tally snapped a five-game pointless drought. … Saturday was the first of five games between the teams. The Hurricanes won all four meetings last season. … Carolina D Andrej Nestrasil (upper body) missed his second straight game. … Flyers RW Claude Giroux, who entered sixth in the NHL with 32 points, had a pair of assists.
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