Flyers-Hurricanes preview: Philly needs to be in desperation mode

FLYRGLANCE17
Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward looks for the puck behind a screen by Dale Weise during the second period of a March 1 game, which was won by visiting Carolina, 4-1.

Flyers (35-25-11) at Hurricanes (30-29-11)

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: PNC Arena

BROADCAST & STREAMING: NBCSP, NBCSports.com/live, 97.5 FM

SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: @BroadStBull and @samdonnellon on Twitter

KEY PLAYERS: The Flyers, losers of seven of their last eight games, need to play with more desperation if they are going to get back to their winning ways. They came out flat in the first period, fell into a 3-1 hole, and lost to hungrier Columbus on Thursday, 5-3.

Carolina, which is a longshot to make the playoffs, has lost four of its last five games; the Hurricanes have allowed six goals in three of their last four contests. They blew a three-goal, third-period lead Tuesday in a 6-4 loss to Boston.

In that game, Boston beat goalie Cam Ward for three goals in a 77-second span to tie the game midway through the third.

Carolina, which has had poor goaltending most of the year, is likely to miss the playoffs for the ninth straight season. Scott Darling, the 6-foot-6, 232-pound goalie who signed a four-year $16.6 million deal, is 11-17-7 with a 3.08 GAA and .888 save percentage.

Sebastian Aho (25 goals), Teuvo Teravained (21), and Jeff Skinner (20) lead the Hurricanes’ attack.

Sean Couturier paces the Flyers with 29 goals but hasn’t scored in the last 13 games. Claude Giroux (26) has an eight-game points streak.

Alex Lyon (2-2, 2.57 GAA, .912 save percentage) will get the start for the Flyers.

THINGS TO KNOW: Couturier is a team-high plus-27, while Wayne Simmonds has the Flyers’ worst plus-minus rating (minus-14)….The Flyers are 1-6-1 in March after going 10-1-2 in February….The Flyers’ power play is 16th and their penalty kill is 30th out of 31 teams….Carolina’s PP is 20th and their PK is ranked 23rd….In five-on-five play, the Flyers have outscored opponents, 128-123, while the Canes have been outscored, 149-121….Former Flyer Justin Williams has 45 points for the Hurricanes and has scored a total of two goals in two games this season against his former team.

HEAD TO HEAD: The Flyers and Canes have split a pair of games this season. Carolina won the most recent meeting, a 4-1 victory at the Wells Fargo Center on March 1 to start the Flyers’ swoon. The Hurricanes trail the all-time series, 42-67-25-3.

COMING FLYERS GAMES:

Sunday: 5 p.m. vs. Washington

Tuesday: 7:30 p.m. at Detroit

Thursday: 7 p.m. vs. New York Rangers