NHL Preview: Philadelphia Flyers vs Carolina Hurricanes
Flyers (2-6-0) vs Hurricanes (3-3-0), 7 p.m., CSN
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Three games is far too many.
The Philadelphia Flyers finally return home on Saturday night, looking to end a three-game skid against the Carolina Hurricanes. During Philadelphia’s four-game road trip, they finished with a disappointing record of 1-3-0, scoring a dismal four goals in their three losses.
The Flyers having difficulty scoring goals? Sounds all too familiar in this shortened season. Having scored two or fewer goals in seven of their eight contests, one would have to assume that the Flyers are beginning to become very frustrated. The talent is clearly there, but the results? Not so much. Special teams have obviously been an issue for the Flyers this season, but Carolina hasn’t been anything to write home about either. They currently rank 28th in the league with a PP% of 10.
Both captain Eric Staal and young stud Jeff Skinner are coming into this game red-hot. Staal is currently riding a four-game point streak, while Skinner is tied for the team lead in goals scored (5). Meanwhile, the Flyers captain has been rather nonexistent, being held without a single point in three straight contests.
Between the Pipes
No surprise here. He’s been one of the best goalies in the league this year, despite getting no help from those in front of him. Ilya Bryzgalov will once again get the nod for the Flyers. He is currently sitting at a 2.31 GAA to go along with a .918 SV%. Flyer fans are seeing a much calmer, composed Bryzgalov than last season. With goaltending no longer appearing to be an issue, when will everyone else step up?
After posting a 33-save shutout on Friday night, Dan Ellis will draw his second straight start against the Flyers. In two starts, he has been extremely effective, notching a GAA of 0.75. If he continues to play at a high level, there may be a goaltending competition on Carolina’s hands.
Keys to Win
- It starts tonight: Tonight’s contest kicks off a four-game home stand for the Flyers. With a league-high six losses on the year, the Flyers need to take advantage of being at home and do whatever it takes to win. Dig deep, play with some fire and play with the passionate sea of orange and black behind you.
- Take care of the puck: During Friday night’s loss, a few goals game off uncalled for turnovers. One, for instance, was off a face-off where Luke Schenn mishandled the puck, resulting in a breakaway goal. It’s simple. Take care of the puck.
- Win puck battles: Another reason the Flyers lost on Friday was due to losing puck battles. Whether the puck was on the boards, loose, whatever, the Flyers were out-hustled all night long. It’s time to be the aggressor, play physical and make sure the puck is in your possession more than the opposition.
Winger Wayne Simmonds is unlikely to play after catching an elbow to the face, then crashing the back of his head hard onto the ice. Initial tests stated that he does not have a concussion, but will be reevaluated today. Rookie Tye McGinn may see some first line ice time in his place.
The Flyers have struggled with face-offs to start the season, but thrived last night. Look for them to build off of this and continue to improve in that department, hopefully resulting in more possession in the offensive zone.