Flyers finish homestand vs. 'Canes

Claude Giroux in action during an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP)

With a win over visiting Carolina on Saturday afternoon, the Flyers would finish the four-game homestand with a commendable 3-0-1 record.

With a loss, they would finish a disappointing 2-1-1 — with a six-game road trip starting Monday in Toronto.

In other words, this is an important early-season game for the Flyers (4-6-1). They will face a 5-4 Carolina team that has won two straight since a 5-3 loss at the Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 2. In that game, the Flyers’ power play went 3 for 3.

After that game, Carolina scored road wins in Toronto, 4-1, and in Ottawa, 3-2, in overtime.

The Flyers, coming off a shootout loss to Florida, will have their hands full containing the Staal brothers, Eric and Jordan. Eric Staal has points in seven straight games, during which he has seven goals and four assists. Jordan Staal has a goal and eight assists in his last seven games.

The Flyers could get a boost because winger Wayne Simmonds, who has missed the last three games with a concussion, is expected to return to their lineup (see story). He would bolster a sad-sack attack that has scored two goals or fewer in nine of 11 games.

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has been the Flyers’ best player in the first few weeks, but he has just a 4-5-1 record because his team has not given him much offensive support. Bryzgalov has a 2.20 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Breakaways. Matt Read leads the Flyers in goals (four) and points (eight)….The Hurricanes have had a defenseman score a goal in six of their last seven games, including former Flyer Joni Pitkanen, who is third in the NHL in shifts per game (32.8)….Carolina is averaging 36.9 shots per game, which led the NHL entering the weekend….The Flyers game in Toronto on Monday will be the first meeting between the teams since Philadelphia acquired Luke Schenn in the off-season by sending James van Riemsdyk to the Maple Leafs…..It wouldn’t be surprising if backup goalie Michael Leighton (5.08 GAA, .808 SP) made his second start of the season Tuesday in Winnipeg.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.