RALEIGH, N.C. - For the first time in five-plus weeks, the Flyers' winning streak reached (drum roll, please) two games with last night's 4-3, shoot-out win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Despite a collapse in which they blew a late 3-0 lead by allowing three goals in a 7-minute, 23-second span, the Flyers survived - thanks to shoot-out goals by Danny Briere and Mike Richards.
"They're points we desperately needed right now," Richards said. "As disappointing as it was to let the game slip away and have to do it in a shoot-out . . . we found a way to win the hockey game and get the two points. Obviously, there are things we have to correct, but it's nice to see we were able to pull something out."
It is the first time the Flyers have won two straight since Nov. 16 and 18, when they scored one-goal wins over New Jersey and Los Angeles - back when John Stevens was the team's coach and Peter Laviolette was a TV analyst.
"We're trying to take steps forward," said Laviolette, who was coaching against his former team. "We have to take another step" tonight against the New York Islanders, he added. "This was another small step."
Richards and Jeff Carter, the heart and soul of the Flyers' offense, scored goals in the same game for just the fifth time this season - and only the second time in their last 25 games.
Briere made it 3-0 with a power-play goal with 11 minutes remaining.
Third-string goalie Michael Leighton, claimed off reentry waivers from Carolina on Dec. 15, played admirably for most of the game and was closing in on his first shutout since he blanked Detroit on Dec. 28, 2003.
But Carolina scored three goals in a 7:23 span to forge a 3-3 tie.
Twenty-four seconds after Briere's goal, Jussi Jokinen scored when his backhander from the left circle deflected off the left skate of defenseman Kimmo Timonen with 10:36 to go.
With 4:02 to play, Joni Pitkanen sent a long pass off the backboards that Brandon Sutter knocked past Leighton on the power play.
With 3:13 remaining, Jokinen converted an Eric Staal cross, sending it off Leighton's pad and tying the score, 3-3.
The 16,000-plus fans at the RBC Center were in a frenzy.
"I think there was just a little bit of complacency - not executing some plays, turning some pucks over, and maybe even sitting back a little bit," Richards said.
"That would have been a devastating loss," said defenseman Matt Carle, who saved a first-period goal when he cleared the puck as it was about to cross the goal line. "But we can take a positive out of it."
Has the team turned the corner?
"Maybe if we won 3-0," Carle said with a chuckle. "I think there's still plenty of work to do."
Earlier, Richards took a slick pass from Claude Giroux and scored on his own rebound with 10:13 left in the first period, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
The goal, Richards' team-high 16th, was scored on the Flyers' first rush after Carle prevented a Carolina goal by alertly clearing a Jokinen shot that had bounced off Leighton and trickled to the goal line.
Twenty seconds after Richards' goal, Darroll Powe knocked a shot past Cam Ward. But the goal was disallowed because the puck had deflected off Powe's arm.
The Flyers took a 2-0 lead when Carter rifled a shot from the high slot past Ward with 6:05 remaining in the opening period.
After Briere made it 3-0, the Hurricanes stormed the net and made it 3-3 with their late flurry. The Flyers killed a penalty early in overtime and won in the shoot-out as Leighton made a save on Tuomo Ruutu. Jokinen's shot hit the left post.
"After we killed the penalty in overtime, we created a few chances and found a way to get it done in the shoot-out," Briere said. "We haven't been very good in shoot-outs the last couple of years, so this was definitely a good win, especially after giving up a 3-0 lead."