Flyers-Hurricanes Preview


Though the Carolina Hurricanes left a point on the board in their season opener, coach Kirk Muller generally liked what he saw from his team.

There haven't been many positives against the Philadelphia Flyers of late.

The Hurricanes try to pick up a rare victory over the winless Flyers, who hope to avoid opening 0-3-0 for the second consecutive season Sunday at PNC Arena.

Radek Dvorak and Nathan Gerbe both scored and Justin Faulk assisted on both tallies before Carolina (0-0-1) gave up three unanswered goals in Friday's 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit. Cam Ward made 35 saves for the Hurricanes, who held the Red Wings scoreless on three power-play chances.

"We've got to play 60 minutes or 60 minutes plus. We can't let our guard down or let up," Muller told the team's official website. "It's OK. It's a little learning curve. We gave up a point, which we're not happy about, but for playing our first game, the jitters at home and playing a good team, I thought there were a lot more positives than negatives."

That hasn't been the case against Philadelphia (0-2-0), which has compiled a 20-2-2 record against Carolina dating to 2007. The Flyers have taken four straight in the series, including all three last season while totaling 14 goals.

"We have to come ready to play (Sunday) night and just jump on them," Hurricanes left wing Jiri Tlusty said. "It's hard to play back-to-backs at the start of the season, so we have to take advantage of that and play as hard as we can."

The Flyers won't have much time to prepare for Carolina after falling 4-1 at Montreal on Saturday. Newcomer Vincent Lecavalier scored the team's lone goal 9:13 into the third period.

"We lost our composure a bit," said coach Peter Laviolette, whose team allowed two power-play goals on nine chances. "We're not going to win a lot of hockey games if we go to the box as much as we did."

Philadelphia, which is a combined 2 for 12 on the man advantage, has yet to score an even-strength goal.

"It's tough to score when you're in the box," forward Max Talbot said. "You have to look at discipline. ... We have to clean that up."

The Flyers were outscored 11-3 in losing their first three games last season, when their string of five consecutive playoff appearances was eventually snapped.

After watching Steve Mason make 22 saves in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Toronto, Ray Emery stopped 30 shots Saturday.

Emery and Mason are both 5-0-0 versus Carolina, posting goals-against averages of 0.74 and 1.80, respectively. Emery also has two shutouts against the Hurricanes, though he hasn't faced them since 2010.

Ward, meanwhile, is 1-8-2 with a 3.56 GAA in his last 11 home starts versus Philadelphia.

Flyers captain Claude Giroux has five goals and nine assists in his last 11 games against the Hurricanes, and Matt Read has notched four and five in his last six.

Lecavalier has 27 points in his last 27 versus Carolina.

The Hurricanes haven't lost their first two home games since 2006-07.