Flyers (4-6-1) vs Hurricanes (5-4-0), 1 p.m., CSN
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Shootouts stink. Or maybe that’s just because the Philadelphia Flyers stink at them?
Either way, boohoo.
The Flyers are coming off a rather dull and disappointing shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, yes the same Panthers who allowed seven goals to the Flyers earlier this season. Now they prepare for a matinee contest against the Carolina Hurricanes, a team the Flyers beat 5-3 just one week ago. In that game, the Flyers posted their second highest goal total in a game this season, but this team is still clearly to light the lamp. Last season, their 3.2 goals per contest tied for second in hockey. This year? They rank 23rd with 2.27 a game. Despite only scoring 25 goals through 11 contests, head coach Peter Laviolette believes things will eventually turn around.
“We continue to work at it and put pucks on the net,” Laviolette said. “I think if you do that, control the zone, control the offensive zone and the play and attempts, I think they’ll eventually start to score.”
They sure scored during the last meeting against the Hurricanes, large in part to power play success. Yes, I did just mention the Flyers and successful power play in the same sentence. During the contest, Philadelphia went a perfect three for three on the man advantage, seeing goals from Claude Giroux, Danny Briere and Kurtis Foster. Look for them to see continued success against a Carolina penalty kill ranking 23rd in hockey. Yes, even behind the Flyers. Sorry, no more special teams jokes, I promise.
Between the Pipes
Ilya Bryzgalov is, and has been really, really good. Despite an injury-ridden team in front of him, Bryz has been this team’s rock. Let’s just not go to another shootout, ehh?
After struggling a bit towards the beginning of the year, Cam Ward has posted back to back 40+ save performances, both resulting in Carolina wins. On the season, he has a GAA of 3.17 to match a save percentage of .909. He’ll be in the cage for Carolina on Saturday and holds a record of 5-10-2 against the Flyers.
Keys to Win
Realize importance: Saturday’s game ends the Flyers four-game homestand. They will then be on the road for a six-game road trip, facing difficult teams such as the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins. Get it done at home against a team you have already defeated.
Target Eric Staal: No, don’t kill him. Staal is currently riding an seven-game point streaking and is clearly the Hurricane’s best player. When these teams first squared off, Staal scored one of his seven goals on the year. He is a big body and can’t be missed, so the Flyers should have their eyes fixed upon the Canes’ captain.
After wearing a regular practice jersey during Friday’s skate, Wayne Simmonds has a good chance to suit up on Saturday afternoon. Simmonds has been out with a concussion since being elbowed by John Erskine.
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen won’t have to worry about next season’s status, as he and the Flyers agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract extension.
Flyers have won 7 of the last 8 home games against Carolina