HURRICANES (5-5-0) at FLYERS (6-4-1)
TV: FS-CR (HD), CSN-PH (HD)
First of four meetings on the 2010-11 schedule. The Flyers swept the Hurricanes last season. Jeff Carter of Philadelphia led all scorers with 4 goals. Goaltender Michael Leighton
got a decision for both teams, losing 6-1 as a member of the Hurricanes on Oct. 31, 2009, and picking up a 4-3 win via the shootout for the Flyers on Dec. 26, 2009.
With victories on back-to-back nights against Atlantic Division foes, the Flyers moved into a first-place tie in the division with the Penguins, just two points behind the Northeast-leading Canadiens and the Southeast-leading Lightning in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are probably happy to be back on the road after getting shut out in each of their first two games at the RBC Center.
Loyal fans who waited the majority of October to see Carolina play in person didn't get much to cheer about last week -- definitely not a Hurricanes goal, as they got blanked by the Capitals on Wednesday and the Penguins on Saturday, both 3-0 final scores. In between, they picked up a 4-3 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday, making them 5-3 away from home (that counts a win over the Wild in Helsinki, Finland, in which the Canes played as the "home" team).
"If we get one (goal) in here, we give (the crowd) a reason to get up and get cheering, and we just couldn't," coach Paul Maurice said following Saturday's defeat.
Added rookie forward Jeff Skinner
: "We were all over them for two or three solid minutes in their end and getting a lot of chances. Sometimes we just didn't get the bounces."
Following a stretch of four losses in five games, Philadelphia has now won three in a row. That includes a 3-2 win in Pittsburgh on Friday and a 6-1 rout of the visiting New York Islanders on Saturday, a game that saw Carter and Chris Pronger
each score twice. Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky
has played all 180 minutes during the win streak, posting a 2.00 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
"All week, with the exception of the Columbus game (a 2-1 loss last Monday), we wanted to rebound and get our identity back," Pronger told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We did it against Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and here tonight."
Skinner had 2 goals and an assist in the Hurricanes' win over the Rangers. His 7 points tie him with Eric Staal
for the team lead and are tied for second among NHL rookies. … Claude Giroux
has three-straight multi-point efforts for the Flyers, while Carter had 3-point efforts against the Sabres and Islanders.
Leighton has yet to play this season for Philadelphia as he recovers from back surgery. Defenseman Matt Walker
is expected to be out until after the new year following hip surgery. Forward Ian Laperriere
has yet to officially announce his plans, but post-concussion symptoms may ultimately force his retirement.
Erik Cole leads the Hurricanes with a plus-6 rating. No one else on the team has better than a plus-2 mark. … Pronger's goals Saturday and a game-opening score by Kimmo Timonen
were the first goals this season from Flyers defensemen.
Saturday's game between Philadelphia and New York featured 120 minutes in penalties, 73 of them assessed to the Islanders. Bobrovsky, playing his third game in four nights, kept his cool through all the mayhem and turned in a 30-save performance.
"It's hard to stay focused in such a long game and maintain concentration when the game continues for so long," he said. "In the end, you just play."