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Flyers Gameday: 1/10/12

January 10, 2012, 8:07 AM ET [ Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT

Trying to emerge from a recent pattern of game-to-game and period-to-period inconsistency, the Flyers (24-12-4) reach the statistical midpoint of the season tonight when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes (14-22-7) in Raleigh. The game starts at 7 PM EST and will be broadcast locally on the Comcast Network Philadelphia (not CSN Philly).

This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season (the lone 2011-12 Eastern Conference season series the Flyers will finish in the first half). The Flyers won the first two games by 5-1 and 5-3 scores but Carolina won the most recent game, 4-2.

Philadelphia enters this game trying to correct a pair of concerning defensive problems that have plagued the club during its stretch of six of losses in its last 10 games (4-5-1): they haven't been starting well or finishing well when it comes to shutting down the opposition.
Philly has yielded the first goal in 9 of the 10 games (going 4-4-1) in those games, and has also blown two-goal leads three times in the last four games (1-2-0).

The Flyers were guilty of trying to cut corners and make fancy plays in Sunday's game in Ottawa, and ultimately paid the price. The least of the team's concerns right now is the fact that Claude Giroux has had back-to-back subpar games, but his line with Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr (who labored through his Sunday return from a groin pull) was not very good against the Senators.

Goaltending was not Philly's main problem in the last game. However, the rate of stoppable goals that have been going in over the last 10 games -- at least one per game -- needs to be cut drastically. Both Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky have been guilty of untimely soft goals in recent games.

The Hurricanes were playing some of their best hockey of the season when the two team's last played. Since then, the club has gone back to struggling and changed coaches. The team is 4-4-2 over its last 10 games, and Kirk Muller's squad followed up an outstanding, and very physical performance in a 4-2 win over Buffalo on Friday with an uninspired effort the next night in a 5-2 loss to Nashville.

On the injury front, the Flyers have begun to feel the impact of the absence of Chris Pronger (LTIR, concussion). Kimmo Timonen (left wrist) and Jagr (groin) will remain in the lineup but Jagr in particular showed the effects of his injury in his last game. Philly isn't going to get any sympathy from Carolina, which is playing without two of its key players in second-year forward Jeff Skinner (concussion) and top-pairing defenseman Joni Pitkanen (concussion).

PROJECTED LINEUP (Subject to change)


Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr
Talbot - Briere - Voracek
JVR - Schenn - Simmonds
Read - Couturier - Rinaldo

Timonen - Coburn
Carle - Bourdon
Lilja - Meszaros



Jokinen - Staal - Ruutu
Ponikarovsky - Brandon Sutter - LaRose
Nodl - Brett Sutter - Stewart
Tlusty - Brent - Dwyer

Gleason - McBain
Faulk - Spacek
Allen - Harrison



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