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Hockey: Carolina victory

The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Justin Faulk helped turn Cam Ward’s milestone game into a victory for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Faulk had a goal and an assist, leading the Hurricanes to a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

It was the 500th NHL game for Ward, the Hurricanes goalie. Ward, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy when Carolina won the Stanley Cup in 2006, made 23 saves.

“I had that sense it was a special night,” Ward said. “In the first period I was a little bit jittery, but the puck was bouncing off me a little bit. I was really able to calm down in the second and third and felt a lot more relaxed. It was clear our guys wanted to put in a really strong effort and I appreciate that.

“I thought we were in control the majority of the night against a very good team as of late, so credit to the guys.”

Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal and Jay McClement also scored for Carolina. Alexander Semin added two assists.

“The guys wanted to make sure that it was a memorable night for Cam,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “500, and look at the group he’s with (the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller are the other active goalies to have appeared in at least 500 games with one team). Stanley Cup winners, Olympians, Conn Smythe winners. He’s in tall cotton there.

“And he’s been real good here. He’s elite in my opinion. I love the way he handles the puck and I love his demeanor.”

Nicklas Grossmann scored in the first period for the Flyers, who lost in regulation for just the second time in their past 14 games (8-2-4).

Flyers goalie Rob Zepp stopped 31 shots.

The Flyers (63 points) are four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

“I’m baffled,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said of his team’s play. “We didn’t execute very well at all and lacked energy. I can look back at the weekend and we had two big games, two emotional games (home wins over Nashville and Washington.) Maybe it zapped our emotions tonight. That’s the big thing for me — the energy and emotion that were lacking.”

Faulk got the Hurricanes on the board on a power play at 7:29, receiving Eric Staal’s pass on the left point and one-timing it past Zepp’s stick side.

“Cam makes a lot of big saves,” Faulk said. “He shouldn’t have to make so many of those, maybe — it’s the defensemen’s fault. But definitely he’s saved me a couple times. All you can ask for in this league is having a chance to win and he gives you that every night. And he steals games for us once in a while and gets the two points.”

Grossmann tied it from the left circle at 17:46, beating Ward through traffic with Jakub Voracek on the primary assist. It was Voracek’s 45th assist and 64th point of the season.

Skinner put Carolina ahead again on a rush at 2:16 of the second, taking Semin’s pass and banging the puck past Zepp’s stick side.

Jordan Staal made it 3-1 on a power play at 15:55 of the second, scoring on a rebound with Semin on the primary assist.

“You definitely want to perform, especially for a guy like Cam,” said Eric Staal, the Hurricanes’ captain who won the Cup with Ward.

“He comes to work, he competes every day and he’s been through a lot the last couple of years (with injuries). Credit him and the way he came to camp this year and has performed. He stayed with it, and has had a solid season.”

McClement capped the scoring at 14:37 of the third with Brad Malone — playing in his 100th NHL game — on the assist.

NOTES: The Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds had his career-high eight-game points streak (six goals, four assists) come to an end. … Philadelphia visits Toronto on Thursday night, while Carolina’s next game is on Friday at home against Washington. … Flyers G Ray Emery did not make the trip and is day to day (lower body). … Healthy scratches for Philadelphia were C Vincent Lecavalier, D Carlo Colaiacovo and D Luke Schenn … Carolina healthy scratches were D John-Michael Liles — whose next NHL game will be his 700th — along with LW Chris Terry and C Andrej Nestrasil. … It was the third of five games between the teams this season. The teams’ final two meetings are April 4 in Raleigh and April 9 in Philadelphia.



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