NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 2nd (All times Eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (3-3-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (2-6-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes are in the midst of putting a slow start behind them and hope that a pair of trips to Philadelphia on their upcoming road trip won't derail that momentum.
The Hurricanes make their first appearance in the City of Brotherly Love on Saturday evening as they look to hand the struggling Flyers a fourth straight defeat.
Carolina has won three of its last four games after getting outscored 9-2 in a pair of season-opening losses and scored just its second first-period goal of the season on Friday against the Ottawa Senators. Eric Staal's fifth goal of the season turned out to be enough as the Hurricanes rode Dan Ellis' 33- save shutout to a 1-0 win.
Staal's tally, which gave him seven points in his last four games, marked the first time this season that Carolina has led after the first period and Ellis' first shutout since Nov. 9, 2010 made it stand up. The backup netminder recorded the 13th blanking of his career in his second start with the Hurricanes.
"It's like any athlete in pro sports, you get the opportunity, you have to take advantage of it," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said of Ellis. "He played well, but I thought our guys also played really strong in front of him."
Alexander Semin and Joe Corvo each added an assist for the Hurricanes, who begin a season-long six-game road trip on Saturday. They will actually visit Philadelphia twice on the swing, making a return trip to the city on Feb. 9.
Muller will have to hope that doesn't throw off his surging club, which snapped a six-game slide in Philadelphia with a victory there on Nov. 21, 2011 but has still dropped eight of its past 11 overall as the guest in this series.
The Flyers have won 12 of the last 14 encounters overall and hope that trend will help them snap their second three-game slide of the season, a pair of skids that have sandwiched their only two wins of the campaign.
Philadelphia has scored more than two goals just once in eight games and did not break that mark in Friday's 3-2 setback to the Washington Capitals that closed out a four-game road trip.
Bruno Gervais had a second-period tally for the Flyers, but the Capitals broke a tie game with a pair of goals during the first 6:44 of the third frame. Brayden Schenn scored with 9:30 to play to pull Philadelphia to within one, but the Caps held on and the Flyers fell to 2-6-0 on the season.
"Obviously frustrating for a little bit now - we just weren't good enough, especially in the third period where it was 1-1," Schenn said. "You have to learn how to win those hockey games and to give up two (goals), it's obviously not what we were looking for. We did get a late one there but I still don't think we were good as a team tonight."
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 23-of-26 shots for the Flyers, who lost forward Wayne Simmonds to injury in the first period after he took an elbow to the face from Washington's John Erskine. The blow, which did not result in a penalty, left Simmonds bleeding from his nose and he did not return to the game. His status for Saturday is unknown.
The Flyers, who begin a four-game homestand, are already without forward Scott Hartnell (broken left foot) as well as defenseman Andrej Meszaros (left shoulder).
02/02 10:29:04 ET