Suddenly, chasing Cam Ward after just 26:57 meant little.
In hockey, shorthanded goals are momentum changers, a swift turn of events that tilts the ice toward the team that was once killing a penalty.
After entering the night as one of seven teams to not allow a shorthanded goal all season, the Flyers had allowed two back-breaking, shorthanded tallies in a span of 25 minutes to a guy who had scored just eight goals all of last season.
In fact, it was the first time the Flyers had allowed two shorthanded goals since Dec. 15, 2009, against Pittsburgh.
After a 2-day break by the beach in Naples, Fla., and a win in Florida just 24 hours earlier, they would have had every excuse in the world to wave a white flag in the Hurricane-force winds after Dwyer's penalty shot.
Matt Read blasted a Jakub Voracek one-time pass through a sliding Brian Boucher's five-hole with 3:51 remaining to give the Flyers a gutty, 5-3 win as they wrapped up their weeklong, three-game road trip with wins on back-to-back nights.
"That's probably the toughest thing you can face," Jaromir Jagr said. "We had 2 days off and then we played back-to-back games. [Last night] was tough. In the second half of the game, we started to lose our legs a little bit. We finished the game strong. That fifth goal really changed the momentum."
With the win, the Flyers (10-4-3) catapulted to the top of the Eastern Conference standings for the first time this season, holding a tiebreaker over division rival Pittsburgh, which also has 23 points with 17 games played.
They hold the best road record in the league at 6-1-1. Last night, it was the Flyers who looked most fresh in the third period, unlike a Carolina team that had a day off between games.
"I'm really happy with the way our guys played," coach Peter Laviolette said. "They did what they had to do to win on the road. I give them a ton of credit for the way they played back-to-back games, I'm really impressed.
"They worked their tails off for 120 minutes."
This season, the Flyers have had no problem getting off to a fast start. They have scored first (14 times) more than any other team in the NHL.
Claude Giroux, who scored twice in the first 22:45, leads the league with five tallies as the first goal of the game. Jagr assisted on both goals, breaking a two-game pointless drought for the Flyers' top line. It was Giroux's first two-goal game of the season - and he has yet to net an NHL hat trick, though Jagr said he was "feeling one" before the game.
But the Flyers have been most impressive in the way they have finished games and last night upped their record to 9-0-1 when leading after the first period.
"We got off to a great start, got out to a lead and they got a little iffy there in the second [period] and got loose with things," said captain Chris Pronger, who had three assists. "We regrouped and came out and had a decent third. It's just a matter of settling down on the bench and doing the little things right."
Both Voracek and Read echoed that playing with a lead is about simplifying the game plan, recognizing that the opposition will need to press and make mistakes in order to get even.
Clinging to a one-goal lead, Pronger relayed an outlet pass off a turnover to Voracek, sending him and Read on a two-on-one break, which led to the insurance goal.
"Once they scored that goal in the third period, we knew that we just had to shut them down and be smart with the puck and do the little things right," Read said. "We simplified things there for the last 10 minutes in the third period."
That simplification, as simple as it sounds, was likely the difference between a 2-0-1 road trip and a 1-0-2 adventure, which is a significant change in perspective.
"If you want to be a successful team in the NHL," Voracek said, "you've got to be closers."
Matt Read, who limped off the ice after scoring the Flyers' fifth goal, said he was trying to prevent himself from hitting the boards but his left knee hit first and gave him a "charley horse," adding, "It's all right, though."
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