Struggling Flyers host Hurricanes
Philadelphia Flyers (2-6-0--4pts)
1. ABOUT THE MATCH-UP
Carolina Hurricanes (3-3-0–6pts)
TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
Both teams are playing the second half of games on back-to-back nights with the Hurricanes earning a 1-0 win vs. Ottawa and the Flyers dropping a 3-2 game at Washington… Last season, the Flyers went 3-1-0 against Carolina, splitting the home-ice portion of the series… Claude Giroux had three goals and seven points in the four-game season series last year against the Canes… The Hurricanes come into tonight's game having won three of their last four games, while the Flyers have dropped three straight… The Flyers are 22-4-4 in their last 30 games against the Hurricanes going back to November 28, 2003 and are 36-9-7-4 against the Hurricanes since the franchise relocated to North Carolina.
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette was head coach of the Hurricanes for parts of five seasons (2003-09) and led Carolina to a Stanley Cup championship in 2005-06... His assistant coach back then is his assistant coach now, Kevin McCarthy - a former Flyers 1st round draft pick (17th in 1977)… Flyers back up goaltender Michael Leighton played with Carolina for three seasons (2007-10)… Forward Andreas Nodl played seven seasons and was drafted by the Flyers organization (2nd rd - 39th in 2006)… Defenseman Joni Pitkanen played with Philadelphia for three seasons (2003-04, 2005-07) and was drafted by the Flyers in the 1st round (4th in 2002).
3. THIS & THAT
The Flyers have won at least three of the four games of the season series against Carolina for each of the last five seasons and have never lost the season series since the team moved to Carolina in 1997-98, with the last losing series coming in 1991-92 when they were the Hartford Whalers, going 0-3-0… The Hurricanes kick off a season-high six-game road trip beginning with the Flyers, while the Flyers kick off a four-game homestand… The Hurricanes have scored just two goals in the first period all season, while the Flyers have scored just four.
4. Player to watch FLYERS: Matt Read
Read has five points in his last five games, posting at least a point in three of the five contests, including an assist in last night's loss at Washington… In four career games against the Canes, Read has two goals and an assist for three points.
5. Player to watch HURRICANES: Jeff Skinner
Skinner ranks third in the NHL with five goals so far this season, leading the Hurricanes… Prior to last night's game vs. Ottawa, Skinner scored at least a goal in four straight games… He posted a goal and an assist in three games last year against the Flyers.
"I think it's up to us to have a better start there; to assert our game and let them know that we're going to be rolling."
- Mike Knuble
Season series: This is the first of three meetings between the teams this season. The Flyers won three of their four meetings last season.
Big Story: Can the Hurricanes continue their hot play? Or will a return home help the Flyers snap a three-game losing streak?
Hurricanes: Dan Ellis has come a long way from the goaltender who was sitting home, wondering if he ever would find his way back to the NHL. Playing his third game of the season Friday, he stopped 33 shots in a 1-0 win against the Ottawa Senators, his first NHL shutout since Nov. 9, 2010.
Ellis played just 10 games last season due to a serious groin injury and signed with the Charlotte Checkers, the Hurricanes' American Hockey League affiliate, during the lockout. He performed well enough there to earn an invitation to Carolina's training camp when the season started, and has done a more than admirable job backing up Cam Ward, winning both his starts and allowing just two goals on 87 shots.
"Any time you take the long route as opposed to the short one, you learn to appreciate where you're at and learn to be a bit more grateful," Ellis told NHL.com.
Flyers: Coming off two days of practice and watching the Washington Capitals play Thursday, the Flyers felt they would be able to take advantage of a tired team when they arrived in Washington on Friday and ride a strong start to a much-needed win.
Instead, 14 minutes into the first period the Capitals were outshooting the Flyers 10-2, and while both teams finished with 11 shots and no goals, the tone of the game was set as Philadelphia went on to lose 3-2.
“When you play a hockey team that played the night before, gets in late, you need to get a jump on them early," forward Brayden Schenn told CSNPhilly.com. "Our start wasn’t good enough, our third period wasn't good enough and the team should be worn down after six periods and … obviously, it was not good enough."
Then Washington went on to score two in the third while the Flyers could manage just one goal on six shots.
"They had a really strong third period, and we didn't have enough jump right from the get-go," Schenn said.
Who's hot: Hurricanes captain Eric Staal scored the game's only goal in the Hurricanes' 1-0 win Friday. He extended his point-scoring streak to four games in the process.
Injury Report: The Hurricanes are a healthy team. … The Flyers could be without forward Wayne Simmonds, who sustained what GM Paul Holmgren called "a head injury and a little bit of a whiplash" when he was elbowed in the face during Friday's game. Also missing for the Flyers are forward Scott Hartnell (foot) and defenseman Andrej Meszaros (shoulder).