5 THINGS: Flyers vs. Hurricanes


This is the third of four meetings between the teams this season, and the second and final game at the Wells Fargo Center. The season series wraps up in Raleigh at the PNC Arena on March 12. The Flyers are 1-1-0 so far against the Hurricanes.

On November 12 in Raleigh, a spectacular goaltending performance of 39 saves by Carter Hart pointed to a Flyers 2-1 victory. Trailing 1-0 in the third period, the Flyers rallied for the goals in Joel Farabee and Zack McEwen to win the game. Shots on goal by a 28-13 margin in two periods, the Flyers generated a 15-12 shots advantage in the final stanza.

The teams faced off at the Wells Fargo Center on the afternoon of November 26. The Flyers got off to a quick start, as Ivan Provorov scored in the first minute of the match. Philadelphia led 2-1 late in the first period as Farabee scored a shorthanded goal. After Sebastian Aho’s second goal of the game tied the game at 2-2 in the opening quarter of the second period, Rasmus Ristolainen answered right away to restore the Flyers’ lead. In the next shift, Carolina’s Jesper Fast went 3-3. It was all the Hurricanes afterward, as Carolina scored two more unanswered goals to take a 5-3 lead in the third period. Andrei Svechnikov added insult to injury in the third period as Carolina won 6-3 and edged the Flyers by a final 36-23 margin.

The Flyers enter Monday’s game hoping to end a four-game winless streak. The last two games have been heartbreaking. At Pittsburgh on Feb. 15, the Flyers held a 4-2 lead midway through the third period to lose in overtime, 5-4. Last Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center, two goals by Gerry Mayhew pushed the Flyers to a 3-2 lead. However, the Capitals scored three times in the final three minutes of the third period as the Flyers suffered a 5-3 loss.

Here are five things to watch out for in this game:

1. Ristolainen and Brown return

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury suffered Feb. 9 against the Detroit Red Wings. He will be back in the Flyers roster for Monday’s game, paired with regular blue line partner Travis Sanheim.

Ristolainen has averaged 21:05 of ice time per game this season. He leads the Flyers with 146 credited hits and is third in blocked shots with 71 (Ivan Provorov leads with 99 blocks, while justin brown blocked 93 opposing shot attempts).

In addition to Ristolainen, the Flyers expect to have a fourth-line center patrick brown back in the lineup for the first time since injuring his knee Jan. 8 against the San Jose Sharks. Since being claimed off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights just before the start of the regular season, Brown has played in 20 games (one goal, three assists, 11:57 TOI, 37 credited hits, 57.59% on the faceoffs) while being a penalty kill the prop.

Prior to the knee injury, Brown missed time this season due to a bout with COVID-19 right after being claimed in Vegas. He then attended to a broken thumb. Brown’s most effective playing streak coincided with the Flyers’ seven-game point streak that followed a 10-game winless streak.

The planned schedule for the Flyers on Monday (subject to change) is as follows:

23 Oskar Lindblom – 28 Claude Giroux – 89 Cam Atkinson
25 James van Riemsdyk – 21 Scott Laughton – 11 Travis Konecny
71 Max Willman – 48 Morgan Frost – 20 Gerry Mayhew
76 Isaac Ratcliffe – 39 Patrick Brown – 17 Zack MacEwen

9 Ivan Provorov – 61 Justin Braun
6 Travis Sanheim – 70 Rasmus Ristolainen
3 Keith Yandle – 24 Nick Seeler

79 Carter Hart
[35 Martin Jones]

PP1: Giroux, van Riemsdyk, Atkinson, Konecny, Provorov
PP2: Laughton, Mayhew, Lindblom, Ratcliffe, Yandle

2. Frost monitoring

In Thursday’s game against Washington, Morgan Frost recorded just 9:10 of ice time. He only appeared on one of the Flyers’ four power plays during the game. Frost had a better game against the Capitals than he did in Pittsburgh until he lost a 50-50 plank battle late in the third period against Carl Hagelin that ultimately ended in an equalizing deflection goal by Washington’s Garnet Hathaway.

Yeo has taken a tough training approach with Frost since taking over as interim head coach. The coach praised the player for a five-game, high-energy, highly involved streak in game play leading up to the NHL All-Star Break. Yeo said he thinks Frost’s considerable offensive skills will emerge at the NHL level with more consistency if he continues to play the way he did before the break.

However, Yeo also hasn’t been shy about publicly calling out the rookie center for games in which the head coach feels Frost’s energy has waned and/or isn’t involved enough in the fight for the pucks. and puck keys. Without mentioning the player’s name, Yeo criticized Frost’s performance in the recent overtime loss to Pittsburgh.

In last Thursday’s game, Frost got away with the losing puck battle late in the third period. In his only power-play shift (26 seconds), Frost started the puck spin that led to Mayhew’s first of two goals in the game.

3. Inside the numbers

The Hurricanes play a high-speed brand of hockey and generally enjoy a puck possession advantage. Going into this game, Carolina ranks third in 5-on-5 shot attempt differentials (54.55% Team Corsi) and sixth in expected goal share in all situations (53.80%).

Conclusion: The Flyers’ opponent not only ranks 6th in goals per game (3.49), but the Hurricanes also have the second-best goals-against average in the NHL (2.41); a total goals against per game better than the 25th-ranked Flyers (3.43).

Tweet from @billmeltzer: Flyers vs. Hurricanes: Stats Comparison pic.twitter.com/bLrAif2kUH

Curiously, in both meetings this season between the Flyers and the Hurricanes, the team that scored first ended up losing in regulation. Overall, though, the Flyers are 12-3-6 when scoring first and 3-22-3 when trailing first. The Canes are 25-3-3 when scoring first and 9-8-1 when trailing first. The Hurricanes are 23-1-1 as they lead after two periods, with the only regulation loss coming to the Flyers on Nov. 12.

Tweet from @billmeltzer: Flyers vs. Hurricanes: Goals/Shots Differentials by Period, Special Teams Comparison, GF/GA by Situation. pic.twitter.com/bmjk4CC9H6

4. Behind Enemy Lines: Carolina Hurricanes

The Metro Division-leading Hurricanes are 3-1-1 in their last five games and 6-2-2 in the last 10 games. The Brind’Amour team are very dangerous at turning opposition turnovers into goals and they also excel at generating speed in the neutral zone, launching the puck in the opposing zone and quickly recovering the puck on the other side .

On Sunday, the Hurricanes earned a 4-3 road victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, moving two points (plus a 30-25 regulation tiebreaker advantage) to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

Antti Raanta made 31 saves in his first start since January 29. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (11th goal of the season) and Jordan Staal (4th) built a 2-0 lead only for Bryan Rust and Sidney Crosby to tie the score in the second intermission. In the third period, goals from Fast (10th) and Aho (power play, 22nd) restored the Hurricanes to a two-goal advantage. A late power-play goal from Evan Rodrigues made it 4-3, but the Canes closed the door afterwards.

The Hurricanes have 10 different players who have posted at least 20 points so far this season (by comparison, the Flyers have five). Aho leads the club with 52 points and shares the lead in goals with Svechnikov (22g, 25a, 47 points). Tony DeAngelo (9g, 31a, 40 points, +18) surveys the body from the blue line.

With Raanta granted the start in Pittsburgh, the Flyers are set to face veteran goaltender Frederik Andersen. In 35 outings this season, Andersen has posted a 26-7-2 record, 2.10 GAA, .927 save percentage and two shutouts.

An aggressive goaltender who handles the puck, Andersen has often helped his team quickly get the puck to a teammate to trigger the breakout. As a bonus, he has delivered four assists this season.

With the exception of Andersen’s return to net, the Hurricanes can choose the same lineup they played against the Penguins:

37 Andrei Svechnikov – 20 Sebastian Aho – 86 Teuvo Teräväinen
78 Steven Lorentz – 16 Vincent Trocheck – 88 Martin Necas
21 Nino Niederreiter – 11 Jordan Staal – 71 Jesper Fast
48 Jordan Martinook – 82 Jesperi Kotkaniemi – 24 Seth Jarvis

74 Jacob Slavin – 77 Tony DeAngelo
76 Brady Skjei – 22 Brett Pesce
28 Ian Cole – 25 Ethan Bear

31 Frederik Andersen
[32 Antti Raanta]

5. Players to watch: Atkinson and Teräväinen

Cam Atkinson leads the Flyers with 17 goals (including three shorthanded goals and a pair of power play goals). With 37 points in 49 games, Atkinson is one point behind Claude Giroux for the team lead. However, Atkinson is yet to score a goal in February and his two-goal outburst against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 29 was the only game of the last 13 in which Atkinson found the net. He has posted seven assists during this period.

Teuvo Teräväinen brings a five-game point streak (1g, 6a) into Monday afternoon’s game. The veteran Finnish striker has scored at least one point in nine of his last 10 games. In 21 career games against the Flyers, Teräväinen has 19 points (6g, 13a).

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