Philadelphia Flyers (19-22-3--41pts)
Carolina Hurricanes (17-23-3--37pts)
TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
1. HEAD TO HEAD
This is the third and final meeting this season against the Hurricanes and first and only game in Carolina… The Flyers won both games against the Canes this season and have won the season series against Carolina for 12 consecutive seasons now (1999-2000 the Flyers went 2-2-0)… The Flyers also have won 11 of their last 12 games at Carolina dating back to the 2005-06 season - their only loss was a 3-2 loss on Feb. 18, 2011… Brayden Schenn leads the Flyers in the season series with four points (1g-3a) in two games this year.
2. SPECIAL TEAMS
The Flyers are 50 percent on the power-play against Carolina in the season series this year, going 3-for-6 on the man-advantage… Overall, the Flyers have the NHL's third-best power play at 22.6 percent (36-for-159) and the NHL's sixth-best penalty kill, operating at 84.9 percent… The Flyers have allowed just three power-play goals in the month of April, killing off 26 of 29 times shorthanded, including their last eight over the last two games.
3. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
The Hurricanes have just two wins in their last 18 games, going 2-14-2 in that span… Jakub Voracek set a new career high with his 19th goal of the season on Tuesday vs. NYR, his 43rd game of the season, topping his previous best (18) in 78 games in 2011-12… The Flyers have scored 11 goals in the first minute of regulation periods this season - Claude Giroux has four of them… The Flyers have an 8-5-1 record against Southeast Division opponents, while the Hurricanes have a 5-4-2 mark against the Atlantic Division… The Hurricanes lead the NHL in shots and shots per-game (1,405 & 32.7).
4. Player to watch FLYERS: Steve Mason - (G) #35
Mason gets the start in net tonight and is coming off of his first win as a Flyer, making 38 saves in a 4-2 win over the Rangers on Apr. 16… So far with the Flyers, Mason has posted a 1.81 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in four appearances… Against the Hurricanes, Mason has a perfect 4-0-0-0 record with a 1.50 GAA and .952 save percentage.
5. Player to watch HURRICANES: Eric Staal - (C) #12
The elder Staal brother leads the team in scoring with 46 points (17g-29a), which is also tied for seventh in the NHL in scoring… He has posted at least a point in four of his last five games, having his four-game point streak snapped in his last outing… During that span, Staal has a goal and four assists… He holds the longest point streak in the NHL this season, recording points in 11 straight from Jan. 24-Feb. 14, with eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in that span… Against the Flyers, Staal leads the team in the season series with three points (1g-2a) in two games, while also posting 24 points (11g-13a) in 34 career games against Philadelphia…
"You don't want losing to become a habit and acceptable, so you need to finish off strong and play hard for your teammates."
The Philadelphia Flyers are in the rare position of being relegated to just playing out the string as they visit the free-falling Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Coach Peter Laviolette led Philadelphia (19-22-3) to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons - including a Stanley Cup finals trip in 2010 - but the franchise will not qualify for the first time since 2006-07.
The New York Rangers' win over Buffalo on Friday eliminated the Flyers from playoff contention, meaning they'll miss the postseason for just the second time in 20 years.
"It's the first time in a long time for Philadelphia, for myself to be eliminated not by your own doing," forward Scott Hartnell told the team's official website. "It (stinks)."
The Flyers scored just three goals during a four-game losing streak before totaling 11 in back-to-back wins this week over Montreal and the Rangers. However, they were stymied by Martin Brodeur on Thursday in a devastating 3-0 home loss to New Jersey, which was riding a 10-game losing streak.
"It was almost like men playing with kids," Hartnell said. "We lost pretty much every battle."
Now the Flyers face one of only three other East teams to have been eliminated from the playoff chase.
Philadelphia has won 11 of 13 in Raleigh and owns a 19-2-2 record in the last 23 meetings with Carolina, including victories in both meetings this season.
While the Hurricanes (17-23-3) showed some life Tuesday by rallying from a two-goal deficit midway through the final period, they fell 4-3 in overtime at Winnipeg for their 16th loss in 18 games.
"We haven't got the breaks or the results that we, to be honest, we really deserve in our performance in the last three, four weeks," coach Kirk Muller said. "So it's unfortunate because I'm really proud of the guys the way they've been battling, playing hard and playing well."
After missing Thursday's loss because of a head injury, Jeff Skinner is expected to be a game-time decision against the Flyers.
Justin Peters has started the past six games for the Hurricanes, going 1-3-1 with a 3.33 GAA. He's 0-1-0 with a 4.53 in two career appearances against the Flyers but hasn't faced them since 2010.
It's uncertain whether Dan Ellis will be available due to soreness in his knee. He's 0-6-1 with a 3.74 ERA in his last eight games but hasn't played since April 8.
Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who took the loss Thursday, allowed six goals but stopped 69 shots in winning both meetings with Carolina this season.
Steve Mason, though, could get the start after finishing with 38 saves in a 4-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday. Mason, acquired earlier this month from Columbus, has a 1.50 GAA while winning each of his four career starts against the Hurricanes.
Philadelphia center Danny Briere looks to snap a 17-game scoreless drought. He had a goal in each of the first two matchups with Carolina, including the game-winner in a 4-3 overtime victory Feb. 9 in the last meeting.
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