Series (Game 4 of 4)

Philadelphia leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, November 1st
Game 2: Thursday, November 11th
Game 3: Thursday, February 10th
Game 4: Friday, February 18th

Flyers 2

(38-15-5, 81 pts)

Hurricanes 3

(28-23-8, 64 pts)

Coverage: NHL

8:00 PM ET, February 18, 2011

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 T
PHI 0 1 12
CAR 2 0 13

E. Cole (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

C. LaRose (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

C. Ward (Hurricanes - G): Saves: 21, Save Pct.: .913

Flyers-Hurricanes Preview


The sputtering Carolina Hurricanes appear to be losing their grip on an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Even if they manage to sneak in, they'll want to do everything they can to avoid the Philadelphia Flyers.

The East's top team looks for its 10th straight victory over the Hurricanes on Friday night in the opener of a critical four-game homestand for Carolina.

Philadelphia (38-14-5) was in second place in the Atlantic Division heading into January, but it's gone 15-4-0 since to overtake Pittsburgh.

The Flyers have surrendered 10 goals in winning five of six, though two third-period scores Wednesday at Florida had them concerned. The Panthers cut a three-goal deficit to one, but that was as close as they got before Danny Briere added an empty netter to secure a 4-2 win.

"Sometimes teams are going to come back," said Briere, who also had two assists. "You're not always going to win 6-0 or 5-1. Sometimes they're going to fight back, and that's what these guys did. They were embarrassed and fought back and made it interesting in the third."

That's what the Hurricanes (27-23-8) did Wednesday at New Jersey, falling behind 3-0 before Sergei Samsonov's goal with 11:43 to play in the third. Carolina threw everything it had at the Devils the rest of the way, but Tuomo Ruutu's goal with 5 seconds left was the only other score it could muster in a 3-2 loss.

The Hurricanes closed out their five-game road trip 1-2-2.

"I don't know, it was a lack of emotion," Ruutu said. "I thought we only played the last 10 minutes, after we scored that first goal. These are big games. For the first two and half periods we were just trying to get through the game and you're not going to win that way."

Carolina is battling Buffalo and Atlanta for the East's eighth spot, though the seventh-place New York Rangers remain in sight. The Hurricanes play 16 of their final 24 games in Raleigh, starting Friday as they retire the number of Rod Brind'Amour, who spent 8 1/2 seasons in Philadelphia before playing his final 9 1/2 seasons with Carolina.

The Devils, Rangers and Penguins also visit the RBC Center over the next week.

If the Flyers wind up as the conference's top seed, the Hurricanes should consider it imperative to climb to No. 7. They've been outscored 33-16 in losing the series' past nine games.

Philadelphia is 12 for 34 (35.3 percent) on the power play in the past eight victories.

Forward Jeff Carter has nine goals and six assists during the winning streak, including a hat trick in an 8-1 victory at the RBC Center on Nov. 11.

Philadelphia hasn't lost a game in regulation to Carolina in the past 18 matchups, going 15-0-3. It's 9-0-1 in Raleigh since its last regulation loss there, 8-6 on Oct. 28, 2005, when the Hurricanes got a hat trick from Eric Staal and three points from Brind'Amour.

Staal hasn't done much against the Flyers since. He's been held to two assists in his last six home games in the series and doesn't have a point in any of the three overall losses this season.

Carolina's Cam Ward is 1-6-2 with a 3.92 goals-against average in nine home starts versus Philadelphia.