Flyers-Hurricanes: 5 things you need to know

Flyers-Hurricanes: 5 things you need to know

October 6, 2013, 10:00 am
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Two games, two goals. Obviously, that’s not the type of offensive start Peter Laviolette was hoping for from his club.

Luckily for the Flyers (0-2-0), who fell to the Montreal Canadiens less than 24 hours ago (see story), the Carolina Hurricanes (0-0-1) are next up on the schedule. The orange and black have earned points in 24 of their last 27 meetings against the 'Canes.

Puck drop for Sunday’s contest between the Flyers and Hurricanes is set for 5 p.m. at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., and the game will be televised on CSN. Here are five other things you need to know:

1) Good timing
The Flyers can put Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Montreal behind them quickly, as they prepare for their first back-to-back situation of the 2013-14 season.

Through the first two games, the Flyers have fired 55 shots on goal but have beaten opposing goalies just twice -- both times on the power play.

A matchup with Carolina couldn’t have come at a better time. The Flyers have potted four or more goals in 10 of their last 16 meetings against the Hurricanes.

The Flyers also won all three games they played against Carolina in the 2013 season series, outscoring the Hurricanes by a 14-9 margin.

Matt Read (two goals, four assists) and Brayden Schenn (one goal, four assists) led the Flyers offensively against the Hurricanes last year. Wayne Simmonds added three markers and a helper of his own.

2) Strong start
Vinny Lecavalier has arguably been the best Flyer through the first two games of the season.

The 33-year-old has a goal, an assist, six shots, four hits and three blocked shots in his first action donning orange and black.

Lecavalier signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Flyers less than a week after being bought out by the Tampa Bay Lightning this past offseason.

3) Struggling special teams
One of the few bright spots for the Flyers last season was their special teams play. The Flyers owned the third-best power-play percentage in the NHL (21.6 percent) and finished fifth on the penalty kill (85.9 percent).

So far this year, those units haven’t clicked in the early going. The Flyers are just 2 for 12 on the man advantage and have allowed three goals in 11 shorthanded situations through the first two games.

The good news? The Flyers still have 80 games to play and their power-play units have been generating plenty of opportunities. Don’t panic just yet.

4) Connections
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette coached the Hurricanes for parts of five seasons, leading Carolina to a Stanley Cup championship in 2005-06. He went 167-122-6-28 during his tenure with the 'Canes before being fired on Dec. 3, 2008.

After being placed on waivers by the Lightning last season, Adam Hall joined the Hurricanes for a short period of time after being claimed on March 16. He appeared in six games for Carolina, but was traded back to Tampa Bay along with a seventh-round pick for Marc-Andre Bergeron on April 2. The Flyers would go on to claim Hall the next day, when the Lightning placed him on waivers for a second time in 2013.

The Hurricanes’ organization selected injured Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger with the second-overall pick at the 1993 NHL draft. He played two seasons with the Hartford Whalers before being traded to the St. Louis Blues for forward Brendan Shanahan.

Injured Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen was drafted by the Flyers with the fourth-overall pick at the 2002 NHL draft. He played in 206 games for the Flyers over three seasons, registering 25 goals and 91 assists.

5) This and that
• The Flyers and Hurricanes will face off four times this season. Sunday will mark the first time the two clubs will play each other within the newly-created Metropolitan Division.

• The Hurricanes will be without forward Tuomo Ruutu (lower-body) and defensemen Tim Gleason (concussion) and Pitkanen (heel).

• Flyers captain Claude Giroux has five goals and 10 assists in 15 career regular-season games against Carolina.

• Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward has struggled mightily against the Flyers in his career. He has a 5-10-3 record with a 3.16 goals-against average in 19 games versus the orange and black.

• Both Ray Emery and Steve Mason have found success against Carolina in their careers. Emery is 5-0-0 with a 0.73 goals-against average and two shutouts and Mason is 5-0-0 with a 1.80 GAA.