THE QUESTIONS asked of Dave Hakstol on the morning of Monday's game against Carolina were expectedly centered on the team's scoring drought.
"You guys are all talking about the scoring," the Flyers coach started to say.
He was cut off and reminded that his team was last in the NHL entering play Monday night against Carolina.
"You guys are all talking about the scoring," he repeated. "And absolutely, that is an issue, we haven't scored a goal in two games."
Hakstol went on to talk about getting some of the finer details in check defensively, including the Flyers' play without the puck, and the way the Flyers were giving up goals recently.
He then went on to say that the media weren't making too big a deal about the scoring drought.
"That's a fair evaluation," Hakstol said.
Surely, it was a fair evaluation. When people spend more time counting the minutes and seconds that have elapsed since the Flyers last scored, it's obviously an issue, especially when it was nearing historic status.
It was an issue the first-year coach must have recognized. He decided to shuffle his lines, splitting up top liners Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, a plan that went awry after Sam Gagner left in the first period and did not return - causing Hakstol to do some in-game shuffling. Voracek started the game on a line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde, while Giroux stuck with Brayden Schenn and was reunited with Michael Raffl.
Whatever the case, after a scoreless first period, the Flyers finally ended their dry spell midway through the second period of Monday's 3-2 overtime win. But it was the finer details and defensive responsibilities that doomed them in a game they should have won in regulation.
Shayne Gostisbehere's power- play goal 24 seconds into overtime earned the Flyers a win - their first at home since Oct. 24 - 24 seconds of play after they probably should have gotten it.
The Hurricanes scored twice in the third period to knot the game at two apiece after the Flyers took a 2-0 advantage into the third period and played sloppy defensively. The tying goal came right after Hakstol called a timeout with a tired group on the ice following an icing. The Hurricanes won the ensuing faceoff, and Brett Pesce put a rebound past Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth with 3:45 to play in the game.
"We played a great first two periods and we let the game get away from us a little bit," Gostisbehere said. "It was good to get the two points."
After Schenn missed a first-period penalty shot and the Flyers went scoreless during a second-period power play that saw numerous opportunities, including a Schenn chance off the post, the Flyers finally took advantage of another 'Canes penalty - a Justin Faulk slashing minor - two minutes later. Giroux fed a cross-ice pass to Voracek, who quickly slid the puck over to an open Schenn in front for the Flyers' first goal - Schenn's sixth on the season - in 167:54, the fifth-longest scoreless streak in franchise history.
"It was nice to see one go in," Hakstol said with a smile.
"I told myself in the intermission after I didn't score on the penalty shot that I was going to get another chance tonight," Schenn said. "Jake gave me a great feed . . . I was thankful to get a second chance."
And, sometimes, when it rains, it pours.
Five minutes later, with the Flyers shorthanded, Sean Couturier skated in on a two-on-one break with Giroux. Couturier fired a shot that Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack got a piece of, but it slid into the crease, where Giroux was able to easily put the waiting puck into the net for a 2-0 lead with 4:52 left in the second period.
Neuvirth, starting for the first time since Nov. 10, was perfect through the Hurricanes' first 22 shot attempts, but was beaten less than eight minutes into the third period when Hurricanes forward Victor Rask cleaned up a rebound for Carolina's first goal. Neuvirth got a little lucky when Ron Hainsey missed a gaping net with about six minutes to play, but Pesce didn't miss his chance a few minutes later.
The Flyers (7-9-5) came out firing in the first period and had an early advantage, 8-2, in shots. They were the better team for the first two periods and finished ahead in shots overall, 36-33, an advantage that was 29-16 after two periods.
"We just spent too much time in our (defensive zone)," Hakstol said of the third period. "There's things to improve and do better. And we'll start worrying about that (Tuesday) morning."
Now they can focus their attention not on a goalless streak, but maybe a winning streak. They haven't won back-to-back games since Oct. 21 and 24. And if Monday's third period was any indication, that won't be very easy Wednesday night in Brooklyn against the Islanders.
Sam Gagner was taken down by Carolina's Brad Malone in the first period and landed awkwardly on his face. He did not return with what the Flyers called an "upper-body" injury . . . Evgeny Medvedev and Vincent Lecavalier were again healthy scratches . . . The Flyers' induction of Carolina assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour into their Hall of Fame caused the game to start after 8 p.m.