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Preview: Flyers look to bounce back against Carolina

Philly could take the season series with a win today

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers will look to rebound in Raleigh today after staving off a thrashing late in their eventual 6-3 loss in Florida on Thursday. It’s an afternoon game in Raleigh before tomorrow night’s game back in Philly against Montreal.

As Flyers fans, we’re in this weird limbo right now. The team is not going to make the playoffs this season—both MoneyPuck and Dom Luszczyszyn have their playoff odds at 0%—and some sort of rebuild or retool feels inevitable. But the trade deadline is still 10 days away. Meanwhile, the trade of our captain and best player is bearing down on us while they’ve just signed one of their biggest offseason mistakes to a long-term contract. And on top of it all, we have to keep tuning in to watch them play meaningless hockey games that—with the slow return of a number of injured players to the lineup—only have the potential to be better than they’ve been (how could they not?) and push the Flyers out of a potential top five draft pick.

Luckily, the Flyers’ opponent today is a formidable one. Carolina is first in the Metro and has the best points percentage in the National Hockey League. They are averaging the lowest amount of goals scored against them per game while scoring at a top 10 rate as well. They are coming off three consecutive wins, all at home, with the last a statement 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

It’s a busy Saturday for the NHL, with 18 other teams in play today, including fellow basement teams Arizona (don’t look now, they’ve won four in a row!), Seattle, Montreal, Ottawa, and New Jersey.

Projected Flyers lines:

Claude Giroux—Derick Brassard—Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom—Morgan Frost—Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee—Kevin Hayes—James van Riemsdyk
Gerry Mayhew—Patrick Brown—Zack MacEwen

Ivan Provorov—Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim—Rasmus Ristolainen
Keith Yandle—Cam York

Carter Hart
(Martin Jones)

Projected Hurricanes lines:

Andrei Svechnikov—Sebastian Aho—Tuevo Teräväinen
Jordan Martinook—Vincent Trocheck—Martin Necas
Nino Niederreiter—Jordan Staal—Jesper Fast
Steven Lorentz—Jesperi Kotkaniemi—Derek Stepan

Jaccob Slavin—Ethan Bear
Brady Skjei—Brett Pesce
Ian Cole—Jalen Chatfield

Freddie Andersen
(Antti Raanta)

Keep an eye on:

  • Travis Konecny, who’s got points in the last two games and 10 in the last 13. The 24-year-old is still scoring at the lowest rate of his career since his rookie year while averaging the most time on ice, but with 30ish games left there’s still some time to salvage his statistical season (and with it, possibly his reputation as a promising young forward).
  • Andrei Svechnikov, who, at age 21, is one of the most exciting players in the league to watch. This season he’s got 51 points in 54 games, looking to surpass his career high of 61 from his 19-year-old season. He’s a threat to create something dangerous or do something exciting every time he’s on the ice; in fact, he generates nearly as many scoring chances per 60 minutes as anyone in the league with 36.49.
  • Morgan Frost, who is making his return to the lineup after a few weeks in the AHL. While it seemed like Frost had finally cracked the NHL roster for good—especially with the Flyers’ lack of depth and the season seemingly out of hand anyway—the Flyers sent him to Lehigh Valley around the All-Star Game and he hasn’t resurfaced until now. Frost has 7 points in 30 games at the NHL level so far this year and will be slotting in today in place of a concussed Scott Laughton.
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who had a pretty slow start scoring-wise to his first season in North Carolina after signing a one-year offer sheet in the offseason, but has driven play as well as anybody on the roster. He leads the Hurricanes in even strength Corsi-For percentage (57.22%), Fenwick-For percentage (55.38%), and is fourth in Shots-For percentage (54.70%).
  • Zack MacEwen, who I just think is a pretty good-looking guy and if you’re going to be looking at hockey players all day, you might as well enjoy it.

Stray stats:

  • The Flyers all-time .662 points percentage against the Carolina Hurricanes is their fourth-best mark against any team, which includes their 2-0 record against the Kraken. The Flyers are 88-39-14-10 (W-L-T-OTL) which goes back to the franchise’s days in Hartford. The Flyers are 34-20-0-5 against the Hurricanes since they became the Hurricanes in 1997.
  • Rod Brind’Amour scored 1184 points in 1484 NHL games, including 601 points for Philadelphia and 473 points for Carolina. He has the fifth-highest career point total of any player who has not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, trailing Pierre Turgeon, Jeremy Roenick, Bernie Nicholls, and Vincent Damphousse.
  • Cam York continued to look like an NHL defenseman in his return to the lineup on Thursday: his 19-15 shot attempt ratio (55.88%) and 10-8 shot ratio (55.56%) both led all Flyers defensemen, with only Yandle—York’s partner—also coming out positive.