The last time the Flyers played in Raleigh at the PNC Arena, they held a 3-2 lead with just over two minutes to play. Then, Martin Necas scored a goal to tie it up and Brent Burns gave Carolina a win in overtime; a pattern that would come to haunt Philly over and over this season.
When the Flyers went toe-to-toe with them before, the Flyers were a bit wounded and still battled them until the end. This time, the tables are turned somewhat. Can Philly elevate it’s game to take on the top dog of the Metropolitan Division or will the results be the same?
Record: 11-16-7 (29 points, 7th in Metro)
The Flyers just lost their last game to the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. After falling behind 4-1, they rallied late, scored two, and just came up short. While yes, it would be nice if they wouldn’t dig themselves in such a hole before they big to start playing, it does help you to consider that perhaps the game is never out of reach. Such as would’ve been the case last year.
And with the loss, there are some positives coming out. Morgan Frost is the hottest Flyer right now. He is riding a three-game goal streak. The former first-rounder has always struggled with consistency and staying healthy. He is showcasing what his talents can be. If he keeps it up, he could become the scoring threat that the Flyers had envisioned when they drafted him.
James van Riemsdyk has also been scoring like crazy since coming back. In the seven games he’s played in since returning from a broken finger, he has three goals and three assists. And being paired up with Frost and Owen Tippett on the top line has paid off well for the Flyers. This top line has scored six goals in the last three games. Maybe this is a sign of things to come.
Philadelphia Flyers Projected Lineup
James van Riemsdyk — Morgan Frost — Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny
Kevin Hayes — Scott Laughton — Wade Allison
Nicolas Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov — Rasmus Ristolainen
Cam York — Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim — Tony DeAngelo
Record: 21-6-6 (48 points, 1st in Metropolitan)
Hockey is a funny sport. When a team gets hot, everyone notices. Everyone noticed the fact that the Boston Bruins went undefeated at home in 13 games. Everyone noticed that the New Jersey Devils won 13 games in a row. But why does everyone forget a team that is consistently good?
Carolina has been at or near the top of the Metro Division standings all year. They are just six points behind Boston for the Eastern Conference lead; tied with Toronto. Oh, and you want a streak? How about the fact that Carolina has a team record 13 game-point streak going?
The last time the Canes “lost-lost” was against Arizona on Nov 23. This week, the Hurricanes have been ripping through the Metro—at least they are hurting our competition! They’ve dropped the Penguins twice, including last night in OT, and the Devils.
The funny thing is, the Canes aren’t amazingly great. They are 6th in the league in goals against but just 23rd in goals for; only 13 more total goals than the Flyers. They are 27th on the power play but 13th on the penalty kill. So again, they aren’t tearing up the league with stats.
They just do enough to get the job done. The team isn’t loaded with superstars, like Boston or Tampa, but they have four solid lines on offense and three good defense lines that will take advantage of you when you screw up. In short, Coach Rod Brind’amour has the team that Coach John Tortorella is trying to build here.
One thing that will help the Flyers is the absence of Sebastian Aho. Aho has missed the last few games with a lower-body injury. He is third on the team with 11 goals and third with 27 points. Aho is a Flyers killer with 10 goals and 13 assists in 22 games. Only the Florida Panthers have suffered more against Aho (24 points).
The team leader in points in Necas. He has 14 goals (second to Andrei Svechnikov’s 17) and 31 total points.
Also, after years of going through a battery of goalies, similar to Philly, it looks as if Carolina has found their goalie. Pyotr Kochetkov, a 23-year-old Russian rookie, is 10-1 this season, is second in the league with a 1.94 GAA, second in the league with a .928 save percentage, and is one of four goalies tied with the NHL lead of three shutouts. In other words….he’s really, really, really good.
Carolina Hurricanes Projected Lineup
Andrei Svechnikov — Paul Stastny — Martin Necas
Teuvo Teravainen — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook — Jordan Staal — Jesper Fast
Stefan Noesen — Jack Drury — Derek Stepan
Jaccob Slavin — Brent Burns
Brett Pesce — Jalen Chatfield
Calvin de Haan — Dylan Coghlan
Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen
Time: 7 PM
Where: PNC Arena
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN+
Radio: 97.5 FM
Live Stream: fuboTV
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