Flyers-Hurricanes Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia Flyers' top line has been held without a point in back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Keeping Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr off the scoresheet for a third straight contest seems unlikely given the trio's production this season against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Flyers look to keep up their dominance of the Hurricanes as they continue a four-game road trip Tuesday night.

On the verge of a home-and-home sweep of Ottawa on Sunday, Philadelphia (24-12-4) instead surrendered four third-period goals and lost 6-4. Rookie Matt Read had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who had won two straight and three of four.

"I thought we turned the puck over way too many times throughout the game and I just felt that we were too soft,'' said center Danny Briere, who had a hat trick in Philadelphia's 3-2 home win Saturday.

Although the team's top line was held without a point Sunday, the unit was back to full strength after Jagr sat out the previous two games with a groin injury sustained in the Winter Classic.

The Flyers will look to get back into the win column against a Carolina team they've had little trouble with recently.

Philadelphia has won two of three meetings this season, including a 5-3 road victory on Nov. 14. The Flyers are 17-3-3 against the Hurricanes - 9-1-1 in Carolina - since the start of the 2006-07 season.

Giroux has three goals and four assists against the Hurricanes (14-22-7) in 2011-12, while Hartnell and Jagr have combined for that same total. Read - tied for the NHL rookie lead with 13 goals - and Max Talbot have two goals apiece in the season series.

Despite two straight quiet games from their top line, the Flyers continue to score with regularity. They rank second in the league with 3.43 goals per game, tallying three or more in four of the past five contests.

The bigger issue for Philadelphia now is in net, with Ilya Bryzgalov struggling to regain the form that helped him win six straight starts in December. He is 2-4-1 with a 4.11 goals-against average in his last seven games and has been outplayed by backup Sergei Bobrovsky, who is 3-1-0 with a 2.26 GAA in his last four starts.

Carolina is coming off its third loss in four games - a 5-2 defeat at Nashville on Saturday - but will be happy to get home, where it's 4-0-1 in its last five.

Coach Kirk Muller wants his team to return to the physical style it displayed in a 4-2 victory over Buffalo on Friday. The Hurricanes registered 25 hits in that game compared to only nine against the Predators.

"The message is that when we compete hard, we get certain results," Muller told the team's official website. "We've got to do it consistently. It can't depend on what opponent we play against or where we play."

Captain Eric Staal continued his production with an assist Saturday, giving him three goals with six assists in his last five contests. Staal, however, has one goal in his last 11 games against the Flyers.

Cam Ward figures to be back in net after Justin Peters made a rare start Saturday. Ward is 2-5-1 with a 3.10 GAA in his last eight appearances versus Philadelphia.

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