RALEIGH, N.C. - Huddled in the Flyers' locker room during the second intermission, Kimmo Timonen said the message was clear before heading onto the ice for last night's third and decisive frame:
There would be no excuse to leave North Carolina without two points against the 28th-ranked team in the NHL.
"The other team, they don't need these points," Timonen said. "We need these points. We wanted to come out hard and get these two points."
Thanks to goals by two players - Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier - who had never scored an NHL goal before this season, the Flyers rallied to break a third-period tug-of-war and walk away with a 2-1 victory in this season's biggest snoozefest so far.
Most important, it was the first time in their last four chances that the Flyers were able to hang on to a lead in the third period.
"We've had a few games where we've had a few hiccups and lost the game in the third," Harry Zolnierczyk said. "This was a game where we at least had a chance to win it in the third. We made sure we did that."
Even with the win, the Flyers were not able to make up ground on the Rangers, who triumphed over Phoenix to maintain a four-point edge in both the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division.
"Who knows," Timonen said. "These two points might be crucial later on."
It was Peter Laviolette's 100th win (100-59-21) since taking over the Flyers on Dec. 4, 2009. He is the eighth coach among 18 in team history to hit a triple-digit win total in the Flyers' 43 seasons.
Laviolette said it meant a little more for him to do it in Carolina, where he led the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup in 2006 before departing under bitter terms in October 2008.
"I didn't know that until just before the game, when someone said something to me," Laviolette said. "I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be a Flyer. I hope there's 500 more."
On a night when the Flyers' top line of Scott Hartnell, Jaromir Jagr and Claude Giroux committed a first - specifically, the first time they were held off the score sheet for two straight games - it represented an opportunity for contributions from unexpected sources.
For more than just the Flyers' two goal scorers, Schenn and Couturier, it was a chance to get into a scoring rhythm.
Schenn, 20, picked up his third point in his last five games. Couturier, 19, scored for the second consecutive game after going 21 without a tally. Zolnierczyk, who assisted on Couturier's game-winner, netted his second point in three contests. And Wayne Simmonds added his fourth assist in six games.
Those first three players - Couturier, Schenn and Zolnierczyk - have combined for only 21 points this season. Yet, they factored in for three of the four points handed out last night.
"The young kids have been terrific," Laviolette said. "Sean has played really well the entire year. I don't think anyone should be mistaken for his offensive abilities, just because we use him on the penalty kill and on the fourth line. We think he's a really talented guy.
"Brayden, we actually do expect him to score, but he just hasn't been in the lineup a lot. Harry came in and provided a lot of positive energy."
With Ilya Bryzgalov on the bench for the first time in four games, Sergei Bobrovsky bailed the Flyers out on numerous occasions by stopping 35 of 36 shots. Timonen said you could tell the "confidence" that Bobrovsky entered the net with, noting that he played "in control" and knew where the puck was at all times.
"Everyone knows we can score, that's not a problem," Timonen said. "Those 5-4, 6-4 [scores], those games aren't us. You're not going to win the Stanley Cup playing like that, it's more 2-1 and 3-2 games. You have to learn how to play like that."
The Flyers have picked up at least one point (18-2-3) in 21 of their last 23 games games against Carolina, which was slated to be a conference rival before the NHLPA nixed the NHL's realignment plan . . . Jerome Sampson became the fifth player to score his first career NHL goal against the Flyers this season. Andrew Shaw (Chicago), Carl Hagelin (Rangers), Louis Leblanc (Montreal) and Adam Henrique (Devils) are the others . . . Zac Rinaldo was scratched in favor of Harry Zolnierczyk . . . Flyers forwards accounted for seven of the team's 17 blocked shots . . . The Flyers committed only two giveaways.