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Rod Brind'Amour and Justin Williams have led the Carolina Hurricanes to a strong start, and now look to help hand their former team a season-high third straight loss as the Philadelphia Flyers visit the RBC Center on Wednesday.
Brind'Amour, who spent 8 1/2 seasons with the Flyers before being traded to Carolina in January 2000, has 26 points through 21 games to lead the Hurricanes (12-6-3). Williams, dealt to Carolina in January 2004 after playing his first 3 1/2 seasons with Philadelphia, has 23 points this season to rank third on the Hurricanes.
The consistent play of that duo has helped Carolina to first place in the Southeast Division and the second-most points in the Eastern Conference with 27.
The Hurricanes are 4-0-2 when Williams scores, and 5-1-0 when Brind'Amour scores. Five of their six regulation losses have come when Brind'Amour and Williams have gone pointless.
Brind'Amour has been limited to four goals and 12 assists in 24 games against the Flyers since being traded to Carolina, and the Hurricanes have won only seven of those matchups. Williams has four goals and four assists in 10 games versus Philadelphia, and he scored in the only meeting this season, but the Flyers won 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 20.
Brind'Amour had his third multigoal effort in 10 games Saturday to give Carolina a 2-1 win over Florida. The victory came after the Hurricanes had suffered back-to-back regulation losses for the first time all season.
"The way this sport is, you're happy if you win, and if you lose, you're miserable," Brind'Amour said. "We had a little more jump tonight. The guys stepped it up."
Carolina was able to avoid a third straight defeat, and the Flyers (11-7-1) now hope to do the same.
Philadelphia has had three days off to recover from its most lopsided loss of the season, 6-2 to New Jersey on Saturday. That home loss came two days after a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
The Flyers have not lost more than two straight this season. It took them less than two weeks to do that last season, as they lost five in a row from Oct. 11-20 en route to finishing with a league-worst and franchise record-low 56 points.
Martin Biron took the loss in both games. He was pulled after allowing four goals in two periods Saturday, but told the team's official Web site he already was not feeling right during the defeat to the Rangers.
"Even though it looked like a good game, there were little things there starting to show where I just needed to go back to basics," Biron said. "The Jersey game just exposed that and sometimes you need those to get you back on the ice and go back to working on the simplicity of things."
The only other time Biron was pulled from a game, Nov. 8 at New Jersey, he responded by winning his next two starts while stopping 53 of 57 shots. His .929 save percentage still ranks among the league leaders.
"In this (locker) room, we all realize that Marty has won some games for us and bailed us out of trouble more than once this year," Flyers center Daniel Briere said. "I'm not worried about Marty. He'll get ready for the next game and move on."
Mike Richards had a goal and an assist Saturday to run his point streak to six games. He has nine points in that span and leads the Flyers with 23.