New Carolina coach Paul Maurice will again look for his first win in his second stint with the team on Saturday when the Hurricanes host Philadelphia, the only team they've beaten in their last six games.
Plagued by a sputtering power play and a lack of confidence, the Hurricanes on Wednesday fired coach Peter Laviolette and brought back Maurice, who coached the team for parts of nine seasons before being fired on Dec. 15, 2003.
They had lost four of five before Laviolette's dismissal, but general manager Jim Rutherford said the problem was deeper for a franchise that has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons after winning the 2006 Stanley Cup.
"It's really not about the last four or five games," Rutherford said. "It's about changing to get the chemistry back on our team, to get the confidence back on our team and make what I would say minor adjustments in a system that really worked in the Stanley Cup year."
Not much worked for the Hurricanes (12-12-2) in Maurice's second debut on Thursday, when they fell behind 3-0 and lost 5-2 at home to Pittsburgh. Carolina outshot the Penguins 36-22, but backup goalie Michael Leighton struggled in place of Cam Ward, who missed the game due to a groin injury.
"We made some - I guess 'glaring' would be the word - mistakes, where you look at it and you may not see that mistake made again," Maurice said.
For one, the Hurricanes need to get off to better starts. They've allowed the first goal in 11 straight games, going 4-7-0 over that span and dropping four in a row at home.
Carolina could also use more production from its power play. The unit ended a drought of 28 straight chances on the man advantage without a goal on Thursday, but it still ranks 29th in the league, converting just 13.2 percent. The Hurricanes are hoping the early return of Justin Williams, who played on Thursday after being expected to be sidelined until February due to a torn Achilles tendon, will help.
"It's not about systems or anything like that," forward Tuomo Ruutu said. "It's about us trying hard every night and then keeping it simple."
The Hurricanes' lone win in their recent struggles was a 3-2 overtime victory at Philadelphia last Friday. But the Flyers (12-7-6) had won 3-1 in Raleigh on Nov. 26, and they're 6-0-3 in their last nine against Carolina.
They've earned at least a point in 11 of their last 12 games overall, but they have a "sour taste" in their mouths after their last game, according to Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell.
The Flyers lost to rival New Jersey 3-2 in overtime on Thursday, allowing the tying goal with 1:30 left in regulation and the winning goal 2:46 into overtime - both by Patrik Elias.
Philadelphia is hoping a 1-1-2 record in its last four games isn't a sign that its recent run of success is coming to a close. After scoring three or more goals in the final five games of a six-game winning streak last month, the Flyers have scored just two in three of their last four contests.
"You just have to keep going the same way and it's going to be more beneficial in the long run," goaltender Martin Biron said.
The Flyers are planning on having leading scorer Simon Gagne back in the lineup. Gagne, who has 13 goals and 18 assists, left after the second period against the Devils due to dehydration and cramps, but said the problem shouldn't be serious.