The Carolina Hurricanes will look to bounce back and maintain their Metropolitan Division lead when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
The Hurricanes (44-15-8, 96 points) are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, their third defeat in their past four games. They are one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils in the division, with one game in hand.
“We’re giving up a little too much, Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce said. “Sometimes we’re trying to overdo things instead of just making the simple play. We’ve given up a lot of odd-man rushes in the last three or four games. I think we have to do a better job of cleaning that up.”
Carolina, which is 5-5-0 in its past 10 games, played catch-up all night against Toronto, falling behind 2-0 early.
Playing from behind has been a rarity this season for the Hurricanes, who are 10-11-4 when their opponents score first. Carolina is 34-4-4 when tallying first.
While Philadelphia (25-32-11, 61 points) is near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, the Hurricanes know they have to be ready on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a lot different game, that’s for sure,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We just played them not long ago. It’s going to be a hard-fought game. You’ve got a team that’s out of it but that’s playing for their lives, so to speak, so that’s going to be a different type of game. We have to regroup, obviously.”
The Flyers enter the contest having snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 home win against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, powered by forward Owen Tippett’s first career hat trick.
It was just Philadelphia’s third win in the past 15 games (3-10-2).
“I don’t think we’ve played poorly. I think the effort’s been there,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “We just don’t get the result. No matter where we are, no matter how much it doesn’t matter in the standings as far as the real stuff, playoffs — they put the uniform on, they want to win. So I’m happy they get a result here and a lot of people contributed.”
Tippett, acquired from the Florida Panthers last season in the Claude Giroux trade, is enjoying a career season, with 21 goals and 16 assists for 37 points in 63 games. He had 18 total goals in 115 NHL games heading into the season.
The 24-year-old has seen his ice time steadily increase over the past two months, averaging 19:24 per game since Jan. 26, up from 15:45 earlier in the season. Tippett has made the most of his jump in action, notching eight goals and 11 points in his past 18 games.
“I think getting traded here last year just gave me a new opportunity and a fresh start,” he said. “It’s been great so far, and I love playing in Philly.”
The Saturday game will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the division foes. The three previous matchups have all been one-goal decisions, with the Hurricanes emerging victorious in each outing.