RALEIGH, N.C. - For the second time in a week, the Philadelphia Flyers walked away from the RBC Center with a win against the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.
Mike Knuble had a goal and two assists, and Martin Biron played well in net to help the Flyers beat the Hurricanes 3-1 on Wednesday night in a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference's top squads.
Derian Hatcher and Kimmo Timonen added second-period goals for the Flyers, who beat Carolina 6-3 on Nov. 21 and have won all three meetings this season.
It was a solid all-around performance for a team coming off a 6-3 home loss to Boston on Monday. Philadelphia got 40 saves from Biron - who flirted with a shutout before yielding a goal midway through the third period - while Mike Richards added two assists. The result was the Flyers' third straight road win.
"It's important we continue to hold our players accountable to the system and the standard we want to play, and just challenge them to get ready both individually and as a group," Flyers coach John Stevens said when asked whether he tried anything different after Monday's loss. "I thought they were good in both departments tonight."
With Biron playing a strong game, the Flyers pushed ahead on goals by Hatcher and Timonen that seemed to be the result of a determined effort the Hurricanes never could match. And by the time Knuble scored on a 1-on-1 chance against Cam Ward on a power play early in the third, Philadelphia was in complete control.
Cory Stillman scored Carolina's only goal, while Ward finished with 31 saves. Carolina has lost five of seven games.
"Everyone just has to pick their game up just a little bit," said Rod Brind'Amour, who assisted on Stillman's goal. "We're not so bad, but everyone is going to have to play better."
Biron earned his 12th victory despite facing a steady stream of shots. He made a key stop in close against Matt Cullen to protect a 1-0 lead in the second period, and also had a good stop against Tim Gleason when the Hurricanes tried to start a rally in the third.
"I was fighting to see the puck a lot more than reacting to it and it seemed to work," Biron said.
"We had success even though we gave up a lot of shots. We kept a lot of the shots outside. It doesn't really faze me if the shot clock says 40 because we try to limit their scoring chances and that's the big part for us."
Hatcher, who returned to the lineup after missing the past 13 games following knee surgery, put the Flyers ahead to stay only seconds after being knocked to the ice near the net with his team on a rush. Hatcher got up and - after Philadelphia kept the puck in the zone - was stopped on three short shots from the top of the crease before finally poking the puck under Ward's outstretched left leg for the 1-0 lead.
Later in the period, the Flyers managed to outlast Ward again. This time, Ward stopped a shot from Richards on the left side, but the puck slid slowly from underneath his legs and to Knuble. Knuble poked the puck to the right side, where Timonen buried the shot before Ward could recover to make it 2-0.
"As a team, we haven't shot the puck as well as we could," said Knuble, who beat Ward less than a minute into the third for the 3-0 lead. "It's a conscious effort of the team to shoot pucks more at the net. Obviously when you shoot pucks at the net, there's a chance for error, a chance for a rebound or a dropped puck.
"It's great to show our team that shoot the puck and you'll be rewarded."
Notes: Brind'Amour played his 500th game with the Hurricanes franchise. ... Carolina played a first period in which neither team scored or committed a penalty for the first time since January 2004. ... Richards extended his point streak to four games and now has three goals and four assists in that stretch. ... Carolina D Mike Commodore was a scratch with a broken finger, though RW Scott Walker returned to the lineup after missing the past 17 games with a torso injury. ... Philadelphia improved to 8-6-0 on the road this season.