RALEIGH, N.C. – Morgan Frost is getting comfortable with this NHL gig.
Two games. Two goals.
The 20-year-old center contributed a shorthanded goal and set up Claude Giroux for what turned out to be the game-winner with 8 minutes, 44 seconds left as the Flyers outlasted Carolina, 5-3, Thursday night at PNC Arena.
The line of Giroux (two goals, two assists), Frost (goal, assist), and Travis Konecny (three assists) was superb as the Flyers overcame an early 2-0 deficit and ended a four-game losing streak.
“There’s no doubt they made some big plays at the right time,” coach Alain Vigneault said after the line helped the Flyers snap Carolina’s four-game winning streak. “Young Morgan. ... that play he made on the winning goal was obviously a skilled player’s ability at an important moment in the game.”
“We did a lot of good things offensively, but defensively we made a few mistakes and it cost us a few goals,” Giroux said. “But it’s important we build on this as a line and as a team.”
Brian Elliott (33 saves) made a great pad save on Nino Niederreiter with about 2 minutes, 50 seconds left to keep the Flyers ahead. Kevin Hayes iced it with an empty-net goal, his first tally in 13 games.
Vigneault said Elliott would like to have back the two early goals he allowed, “but the way he battled in net tonight showed a lot about him and a lot about our team, battling back in a tough building against a team that plays real hard and well.”
“We didn’t panic; we just kept going,” Giroux said about overcoming the 2-0 deficit.
Giroux snapped a 3-3 tie as he tapped in Frost’s great feed about eight minutes after the Hurricanes had tied it.
Carolina tied the game with 16:36 remaining in the third as Lucas Wallmark took a slick feed from Brock McGinn out front and scored against a hung-out-to-dry Elliott. The Hurricanes had a three-on-one down low -- Robert Hagg was the lone defender -- and Elliott was virtually helpless.
Frost, recalled from the Phantoms earlier in the week, scored his shorthanded goal early in the second period to snap a 2-2 tie.
With the Flyers killing the final seconds of a penalty, Giroux won a faceoff and sent the puck to Frost, who whipped a one-timer past Petr Mrazek with 17:09 left in the second, putting the Flyers ahead, 3-2. Giroux had told Frost to drop back a few steps before he won the draw.
“I try not to waver too much,” said Frost, who had a sensational goal against Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky in his NHL debut Tuesday. “Every shift I’m getting a little more comfortable and confident.”
Playing alongside Giroux and Konecny “obviously helps,” he said. “I’m just trying to play my game and not get too high or not get too low.”
Konecny called Frost a special player. "Not many guys can come up and do what he’s done in two games,” he said.
The Hurricanes dominated most of the second period, outshooting the Flyers, 19-4, but Elliott stood tall and Frost’s tally was the only goal in the session.
This is not a formula to end a four-game losing streak: Fall behind 2-0 before the game is five minutes old – the first goal, Sebastian Aho’s fifth in the last five games, was scored because the Flyers lost the puck along the boards, the other was a power-play shot by Teuvo Teravainen that Elliott usually stops.
The Flyers, however, controlled the rest of the wide-open period, getting goals from Giroux and Ivan Provorov (power play) to go into the first intermission tied at 2-2.
“It was a big energy lift,” Elliott said of the Flyers’ push-back.
Konecny had two assists in the period, the first with a breathtaking feed from behind the net and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk closely guarding him.
Konecny sent a perfect no-look, backhand pass onto Giroux’s stick in front, and he knocked in his sixth goal of the season, getting the Flyers within 2-1 with 13:29 left in the first.
“I know a little bit about how he plays,” Giroux said about Konecny. “I really didn’t do too much, to be honest. I just lifted the puck. When you play with a good player like T.K., you always have to be open.”
Konecny knew Giroux was heading toward the net.
“He’s letting me know,” he said. “It’s one of those plays that’s not always going to work. It had to be the perfect play to happen correctly and it worked out.”