Tonight, the Flyers will conclude their post holiday road trip in Raleigh, NC where they will face the Carolina Hurricanes. Two points in a divisional matchup is a must for this team to stay in the playoff picture, but will they pull it off?
The Hurricanes have a current home record of 12-8-0 so the Flyers will need to play their best hockey to get ahead of this one. Getting on the board first will play a huge part in the outcome of this game. As the Flyers have started each of the last three games from behind, they’ll look to score first and get momentum rolling fast.
With Justin Braun out, the Flyers’ already struggling defense will need to tighten up. Shayne Gostisbehere, along with the rest of the defense, has to have a good game and the patience in waiting for one is running thin. With the defense down a man, it is a good time for him to prove his value to this team and help them get back to the win column. Gostisbehere is also one point shy of his 200th career point. A strong offensive performance will be crucial, but Travis Konecny appears to be finding his stride again since his concussion. If the bottom six can generate offense, it will make this game a good contest.
The Canes have multiple players the Flyers should keep on their radar, but goal scorers to watch out for are Andre Svechnikov (18g) and Sebastien Aho (23g). They’ll also watch for Teuvo Teravainen who has tallied 33 assists this season and, along with Svechnikov, has 41 points in 42 games played. Moving back to the blue line, the Flyers will want to keep an eye on Dougie Hamilton as well. A strong defenseman with an offensive upside, Hamilton has 13 goals on the season and is averaging .881 points per game.
The Hurricanes have the Flyers beat on the Powerplay and the Penalty kill. Obviously, they’ll need to make the most of every man advantage but strong five on five play will put the nail in the coffin. Both teams are neck and neck for shots on goal allowed (28.9 [T]), shots on goal taken (Hurricanes 34.2, Flyers 32.1), and goals allowed (Hurricanes 2.83, Flyers 2.95) . As usual, the Flyers are doing exceptionally well in faceoff percentage but capitalizing on all possessions, one of the Flyers biggest struggles as of late, is crucial.
Leaving this game with two points is important for the Flyers as they have only two more divisional games in the month of January. Like most games, a strong defense is crucial, but today the Flyers will look to control the game offensively; limiting puck possession for the Hurricanes through the whole game.
It appears Brian Elliott will be getting the start in net. The Flyers will be shooting against a familiar face in Petr Mrazek. While his stint in Philadelphia left plenty to be desired, he’s proved to be a reliable netminder for Carolina.
Puck drop is at 7:00pm. Check back to Philly Sports Network for your postgame recap.