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Hurricanes Blank Flyers

So far, Arturs Irbe hasn't done much wrong for the Carolina Hurricanes this season.

Two games and two wins, including Thursday night's 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

"He's one of the hardest working goaltenders I've seen," coach Paul Maurice said after Irbe stopped 30 shots. "You can tell how well he moved around the net tonight. He's been near perfect for us the first two games. He's been working real well with our defense."

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  • The loss marked the first time in the Flyers' 33-year history that they have gone scoreless in their first two games.

    Irbe, who set a Carolina franchise record last year with six shutouts, has 20 for his career. He was especially strong in the second period when the Flyers outshot the Hurricanes 11-0 in the first 10 minutes, 15-6 overall.

    "The defense in front of me put a lot of pressure on them and really didn't give them too many good chances," Irbe said. "I was able to see a lot of the shots in front of me."

    Ron Francis had a goal and an assist and Bates Battaglia also scored for the Hurricanes, who are picking up where they left off last year when they allowed a franchise-low 202 goals. Carolina surrendered only one goal in its 3-1 season-opening win at Boston.

    "We are frustrated a little bit," said Philadelphia's John LeClair after the Flyers failed in three power-play attempts to make it 0-for-9 in their first two games with a man advantage. "We did some things that we wanted to do offensively around the net. We were not hungr enough around the net but it's not from a lack of effort. We are just not getting a bounce."

    Francis put the Hurricanes ahead 1-0 at 4:52 of the first period by flicking the puck off the skate of Flyers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck from the front of the right circle for an unassisted goal.

    Francis, who recently replaced holdout Keith Primeau as Carolina's captain, assisted on Battaglia's goal at 13:18 of the second period. Battaglia rebounded a wrist shot over Vanbiesbrouck's shoulder after the goaltender failed to control Francis' shot from the slot.

    The last time Philadelphia was shut out in consecutive games was in February 1995, when Ottawa and Florida each won 3-0.

    "We just have to finish our plays," said Flyers captain Eric Lindros. "We have to score, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We have to get back to the basics. It doesn't have to be fancy."

    Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins played in his first game since losing eight teeth after being hit by Kirk Maltby's slap shot in an exhibition game at Detroit on Sept. 28. Desjardins wore a special plastic and mesh cage to protect his mouth.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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