PHILADELPHIA - The Carolina Hurricanes begin a five-game road trip with a Metropolitan Division match-up against the streaking Philadelphia Flyers.
The Canes, who are winless in three games (0-2-1), are entering into a critical stretch featuring three straight divisional opponents.
"You can group them all into the same category for me - you've got to have them," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Whether they're on the road, whether they're divisional … it kind of all goes out the window. You're at a point where you've got to have them."
Sprint to the Finish
Thursday marks the beginning of a stretch that will see the Hurricanes play 16 games in 27 days. Nine of those 16 games will be played on the road, which includes this five-game road trip to start the month. Each of the four weekends in March features a Saturday-Sunday back-to-back set with travel.
This five-game trip begins with three straight games within the Metropolitan Division, all against teams the Canes are chasing in the standings.
Those are pivotal points.
"It's just go until the end of the year," Brind'Amour said. "It's important for us to get mentally and physically ready."
Sebastian Aho was held off the scoresheet in the Hurricanes' 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. That ended his career-long 14-game point streak, which was also the longest point streak in team history (since relocation) and the third longest in franchise history.
Aho, who has recorded a team-leading 62 points (36g, 26a) in 64 games this season, has notched 18 points (7g, 11a) in 16 career games against Philadelphia.
The Last Meeting
After falling behind 2-0 in the first nine minutes of the game on Jan. 7, the Hurricanes rallied to score four straight goals. Philadelphia, though, answered back to make it a 4-3 game before the end of the second period, and Travis Sanheim tied the game in the final five minutes of regulation to force overtime. Dougie Hamilton then scored his 14th goal of the season at the 1:56 mark to lift the Canes to a 5-4 overtime win.
Video: Hamilton scores in OT to lift Hurricanes to 5-4 win
The Flyers defeated the Capitals, 5-2, in Washington on Wednesday night to win their seventh game in a row. In that stretch, the Flyers have outscored their opponents 32-15. Philadelphia now sits just a point back of the Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers, who are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, are 23-5-4 at home and 15-4-4 within the division. Travis Konecny leads the team in scoring with 61 points (24g, 37a) in 63 games and is riding a four-game point streak (3g, 4a).
"They're deep," Brind'Amour said. "They're a little harder to play against. They already were, and now they've added a little more meat to their lineup, a little more experience. They're a high-end, skilled team that plays away from the puck really hard, too. Their goaltending has been good all year. That's really their biggest change this year."
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