Flyers vs. Hurricanes
7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet
The Flyers (33-29-18) will try for a third straight win when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes (29-40-11) at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.
Here are five things you should know before puck drop:
1. Feeling right
Have the Flyers finally figured out the best way to utilize Brayden Schenn?
After moving Schenn from his natural center position to left wing, sliding him up and down the lineup and giving him numerous different linemates over the past three seasons, the Flyers may have struck gold by placing the 23-year-old on the right wing with Sean Couturier and Matt Read.
Schenn has collected four goals and three assists during a four-game point streak and is enjoying his first opportunity to play on a different side of the ice.
“Just off the rush, you are able to make more plays and see more of the ice,” he said of his transition to right wing. “I’m able to get off the boards a little more. It’s a change but whatever position Chief (Craig Berube) puts me in, I will be comfortable at. I’m going to do the best job I can.”
Consistency has been Schenn’s biggest crutch at the NHL level. He tends to go through lengthy scoring droughts despite receiving significant playing time at even strength and on the power play in a top-six forward role. The Flyers would love to see Schenn carry over his recent production into next season, but, with one more year on his contract after this season, his future with the organization remains cloudy as ever.
2. Power surge
One aspect of the game that has rarely been an issue for the Flyers in 2014-15 is the power play.
The Flyers boast the league’s third-best PP unit at 23.8 percent. The team has been especially strong on the man advantage over its last seven games, too. The Flyers have tallied at least one power-play goal in each of those tilts and haven’t missed a beat even after losing key PP contributor Wayne Simmonds to a season-ending leg injury two weeks ago.
Believe it or not, the Hurricanes are in a good position to put an end to the Flyers’ recent surge on the power play. Despite its horrid play this season, Carolina is actually the fourth-best team on the penalty kill in the NHL at 84.5 percent.
Forwards R.J. Umberger (hip/abdomen) and Simmonds (leg) are out for the rest of the season.
Defensemen Andrew MacDonald (hand), Luke Schenn (abdomen) and Radko Gudas (knee) are also sidelined for the Flyers.
The Hurricanes will be without defensemen Jack Hillen (concussion) and Rasmus Rissanen (knee) and forward Riley Nash (concussion).
4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Mark Streit has been mighty generous as of late. The veteran defenseman has collected six assists in his last four games, and now ranks third on the Flyers in scoring with 51 points in 79 games. The 37-year-old, who is the first Flyers blueliner to record 50 points in a season since Chris Pronger accomplished the feat in 2009-10, is also just one goal away from recording back-to-back campaigns with at least 10 markers.
Hurricanes: Eric Staal is one of those players who just kills the Flyers. The Hurricanes’ captain has four goals and four assists during his current seven-game point streak against the orange and black, and enters Thursday with nine points in his last eight contests overall. He’s having a down season, but he doesn’t really have much to work with right now. The 30-year-old can still light up any team on any night when he’s on though.
5. This and that
• Dating back to the start of last season, the Flyers have dropped seven of their last eight meetings with the Hurricanes, including three straight.
• Carolina has been outscored, 21-11, excluding shootout goals, during its current 1-4-1 slide.
• The Flyers have averaged 4.4 goals during their current 4-0-1 stretch at the Wells Fargo Center.
• Claude Giroux has seven goals and four assists in his last 11 games.
• Eric and Jordan Staal each have two goals and two assists against the Flyers this season.