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Ponikarovsky Steps Up in Philly as Canes Beat Flyers 4-2


November 28, 2008. That was the last time the Hurricanes beat the Flyers in Philadelphia until last night when they walked away with a big win and a score of 4-2 at the final buzzer. The Hurricanes, coming off a home win against Toronto on Sunday, skated onto the ice of the Wells Fargo Center looking like a much more confident team than they did a few days ago. The teams were well matched up in the first with a fast-paced, back and forth effort by both squads. The game was scoreless until deep into the first period when The Hurricanes caught a break as Wayne Simmonds went to the box for a questionable holding call. The Canes did not argue this man advantage, and big Alexei Ponikarovsky put the “power” in “power play” scoring the first goal of the night at the 13:42 mark off of a Jussi Jokinen to Chad LaRose assist.

That was not to be the only Hurricanes’ goal of the period as the Caniac faithful were treated to a skills show when Jeff Skinner pulled a spinnarama on veteran blueliner Kimmo Timonen winding himself in front of the net to take a shot with fifteen seconds left on the clock. The first shot didn’t go in, but if at first you don’t succeed and your name is Skinner you grab your own rebound and put in a second attempt that Ilya Bryzgalov has no chance of stopping. This move, possibly renamed, the Skinnerama, brought the score to 2-0 at the first buzzer.

James van Riemsdyk didn’t take so highly to going out with a goose egg after twenty and he returned in the second quickly grabbing an unassisted goal of his own less than two minutes into the period. The Canes would not sit on their laurels after JVR’s answer and Tomas Kaberle was able to feed the puck to an open Chad LaRose who popped in a picture perfect snapshot breaking the tie and bringing the score to 3-1.

Rookie Matt Read had an impressive showing against the Canes last time the teams met and this time he left his mark as well. At the 12:24 mark he got the Flyers back on the board with assists from James van Riemsdyk and Kimmo Timonen.

The story of the night though was Alexei Ponikarovsky who at 18:33 popped in a wrister scoring his second power play goal of the night. This put the Canes up 4-2, a lead they would hold on to through the rest of the second and through the end of regulation. Poni, who also earned an assist, was named one of the three stars of the game and LaRose and Jokinen picked up their second helpers of the night on the play.

Observations from the couch:

  • The contest was physical as expected with the Broad Street Bullies even without Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn in the lineup. Coburn had an upper body injury and Pronger had a virus. I hereby swear that I did NOT send him a “fan letter” laced with Swine Flu.
  • Brett Sutter, called up from the Checkers, had some impressive physical play last night as well and Jay Harrison continues to stick up for his mates on the ice. He may want to invest in a tear away jersey though as Wayne Simmonds seemed incapable of releasing his grip on the sweater long after the whistle. As he skated off the ice Jay Harrison said what looked to be “friendship flowers!” or else I am a very bad lip reader.
  • Justin Faulk logged twenty solid minutes last night and even took a high stick to the face. The mustache was not harmed.
  • I am very happy with the victory, but we have to stop committing so many stick infractions!
  • It’s hard to believe but this was only the fourth career start for Cam Ward in Philadelphia! Cam Ward said no thirty times last night.
  • Sidney Crosby? We don’t need no stinkin’ Crosby. We’ve got our Skinny and the Skinnerama Spinnerama!
  • The other night the Hurricanes made the highlight reels but in more of a lowlight fashion. In the middle of the NHL Overtime Crosby love fest last night they gave their three stars; Alexei Ponikarovsky was the second. Lots of good words were said about his performance last night.
  • Cam Ward’s windmill save from the win over Toronto on Sunday was shown on the plays of the week on NHL Overtime.
  • Players can say personnel changes are just business but they looked a little looser without the immediate possibility of their coach losing his job looming over their heads.

Feel free to leave us your impressions of the game in the comments. We appreciate you stopping by. Find all things Canes and Checkers on Facebook and Twitter: @CardiacCaneFS, @esbee92, @caniac176, and @peacelovepuck