Flyers vs. Hurricanes – 7 p.m., CSN
Wells Fargo Center
Injuries, power play struggles and a lack of offensive production are just a few issues that have become repetitive for the Flyers in the early going of their 48-game, lockout-shortened season.
The Flyers will look to snap out of their funk and avoid their first four-game skid in two seasons when they open a four-game homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
However, the Flyers could be without another key forward as Wayne Simmonds suffered a head injury in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
Flyers: 2-6-0 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 15th in Eastern Conference)
Hurricanes: 3-3-0 (Third in Southeast Division, 11th in Eastern Conference)
Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn both registered goals to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Jan. 10, 2012. The win was Peter Laviolette’s 100th as head coach of the Flyers. Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward made 35 saves in a losing effort. Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky also turned aside 35 shots.
In the 2011-12 season series, the Flyers went 3-1 against Carolina.
The Flyers dropped their third game in a row, falling to the Capitals, 3-2, on Friday night. Defenseman Bruno Gervais opened the scoring in the first period – his first goal as a member of the orange and black – and Schenn potted his first tally of the season for the Flyers. Ilya Bryzgalov, who lost his fifth game in seven starts, made 23 saves.
The Hurricanes, who also played Friday, are high off a 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Backup goalie Dan Ellis made 33 saves to record his 13th career shutout and captain Eric Staal beat Senators netminder Craig Anderson for Carolina’s lone goal.
The Flyers have had plenty of success against the Hurricanes over the past couple of seasons. They’re 18-2-3 in their last 23 meetings with Carolina, including an 8-1-2 record at the Wells Fargo Center.
In four contests against the Hurricanes in 2011-12, Claude Giroux had three goals and four assists. The 25-year-old has collected four goals and eight assists in 12 career games against Carolina overall.
Bryzgalov has gone 2-4-0-1 with a 3.23 goals against average and .900 save percentage in seven starts against Carolina.
Alex Semin, who will play against the Flyers for the first time as a member of the Hurricanes on Saturday, has nine goals and 11 assists in 22 career games against the orange and black.
Hurricanes starting goalie Cam Ward hasn’t fared well against the Flyers in his career. He has posted a 5-10-0-2 record with a 3.17 goals against average and .891 save percentage in 17 appearances versus the orange and black.
Keep an eye on...
The Flyers will see a familiar face in Jordan Staal on Saturday night. Jordan, brother of fellow Hurricane Eric, was acquired by Carolina this past offseason from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Brandon Sutter, Brain Dumoulin and the Hurricanes’ eighth overall selection at the 2012 NHL draft – which the Pens used to select defenseman Derrick Pouliot. In 36 games with Pittsburgh, Jordan Staal had 11 goals and six assists against the Flyers, along with a plus-six rating.
Through six games this season, Carolina has scored 15 goals. Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner (five goals apiece) have combined for 10 of those markers.
Did you know?
The Flyers are 3 for 30 on the power play in their six losses this season. In their two victories, the Flyers have converted on 3 of 10 attempts on the man advantage.
Scott Hartnell (left foot) and Andrej Meszaros (left shoulder) remained sidelined.
Simmonds left Friday’s loss to Washington after taking a John Erskine elbow to the face late in the first period that sent Simmonds to the ice with a bloody nose. Erskine will face a disciplinary hearing Saturday at 2 p.m. with NHL Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan.
“Obviously, he's got a head injury and probably a little bit of whiplash going on right now," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He seemed OK after the game. We're just going to have to wait and see how he is (Saturday)."
Tuomo Ruutu underwent hip surgery in early January and could miss the entire regular season. Last season, the winger scored 18 goals and collected 16 assists in 72 games for Carolina.
How concerned are you by the Flyers’ lack of production on offense in the early going?
Flyers vs. Hurricanes – 7 p.m., CSN