Flyers look to Stay the Course against Canes
Although it’s only been a little over two weeks since the Carolina Hurricanes (6-8-3) and Philadelphia Flyers (9-4-3) last faced off, quite a bit has changed in Philadelphia.
Coming into their last meeting, the Flyers had lost back-to-back games, including a disappointing 9-8 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
To make matters worse, the team, who had started the season 4-1-1, had dropped four of five and seemed to have serious defensive problems.
Most notably, their goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov, made emphatic statements about his confidence level (or lack there of) and went as far to say that he was “lost in the woods.”
Fortunately he found his compass against the Canes.
Bryzgalov stopped 24 of 25 shots and in all likely hood would have stopped all 25 had teammate Scott Hartnell not knocked him out of position on a back check.
Including the win against Carolina, Bryzgalov has since gone 4-0-1 with a .985 save% and 1.80 GAA in his last five games.
Where one Flyers goalie found his stride, a former Flyer continued to slide.
Brian Boucher joined the Hurricanes as a free agent in the offseason and has struggled with his new team. In only two starts, Boucher was 0-1-1 and had yet to hold an opponent under four goals in either game.
The same would be true against his former team.
Claude Giroux would light up Boucher, registering points on four of the Flyers five goals. Jaromir Jagr, Scott Hartnell and Max Talbot would all join Giroux on the score sheet on the way to a 5-1 Flyers win.
The win propelled the team back on course.
Including the win against the Canes, the Flyers are 4-0-2 in their last six games. They have scored three or more goals in five of those six and have outscored their opponents 24-12.
While the Flyers continue to find success, the Hurricanes continue to falter.
Since November 1st, Carolina has lost four of six and has allowed their opponents to score five or more goals in half of those games. In total, the team has allowed four or more goals in eight of the 17 games they have played this season.
Looking ahead to tonight’s match-up in Carolina, special teams will be something to keep your eye on.
The Flyers have successfully killed off 22 consecutive penalties against the Hurricanes; a streak that reaches to the start of last season.
In fact, the last time the Hurricanes scored a power play goal against the Flyers was January 23, 2010, when Rod Brind’Amour scored on a Daniel Briere hooking penalty.
Considering that the Canes are only converting 13% of their extra-man advantages (25th in the league), it’s probably safe to say that this streak may continue for some time.
But the power play isn’t the only place the Flyers have dominated the Hurricanes.
Since 2007-08, the Flyers have gone 14-1-2 against Carolina.
With the Flyers leading the Eastern Conference in ‘goals for’ (60) and the Hurricanes in the bottom-three in ‘goals against’ (58), this game may continue the trend.
Maybe not all that much has changed in Philadelphia after all.
Will the Hurricanes score a power play goal?
Will the Flyers take over/under five penalties?
Will the Flyers score over three goals?