The Philadelphia Flyers have lost four straight and essentially ruined what started as a very promising road trip.
What’s maybe most alarming about the streak is the poor quality of the opponents they’ve faced as they’ve fallen apart, so there’s no guarantee things will improve Saturday night in New Jersey against the similarly slumping Devils.
Philadelphia (14-17-7) will complete an eight-game trip in back-to-back fashion after Friday’s 2-1 loss in Carolina. The previous three losses came in Nashville, Arizona and Colorado, with the Predators the only opponent of those four with a winning record.
The Flyers scored 16 goals in wins over Toronto, Winnipeg and Minnesota to start the trip. Since, they’ve scored seven.
The loss to the Hurricanes looked to be even more damaging when Claude Giroux left in the third period due to a cut on his left leg from the skate of Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. The center, second on the team with 43 points, is said to be probable against the Devils.
"I knew I got hit," said Giroux, who received stitches. "I kind of tried to put pressure on it, and it felt really weird. I’m just happy I’m good."
The Flyers continued to struggle on the power play, going 0 for 3 and falling to 2 for 23 over the last eight games. The kill has also been poor, conceding seven goals in 23 short-handed situations this trip, but New Jersey’s power play hasn’t been at all imposing with one goal in 19 chances over the last six games.
These teams have split two games in Philadelphia this season. Wayne Simmonds had three goals and an assist, while Giroux had a goal and three assists.
Jaromir Jagr has 11 points in his last 10 games against Philadelphia, and the Devils (13-20-7) would love for that to continue. They can’t get anything going offensively, scoring just 10 goals in eight games after Friday’s 4-2 home loss to Montreal. They’ve won twice in 12 games.
"Have to stick with it," general manager and co-coach Lou Lamoriello said. "We have to clean up some things, there’s no question. We have to stay out of the penalty box. That’s been a problem. We have to have discipline, and we have to correct the turnovers. Other than that, the goals will come."
Help could be on the way after activating forwards Michael Ryder (mumps), Patrik Elias (mumps) and Martin Havlat (flu) for Friday’s game. Ryder, who had a goal and two assists in a season-opening win in Philadelphia, scored against the Canadiens to snap a 21-game drought without a goal.
"I felt pretty good," Ryder said. "I didn’t feel like I missed a step. It’s a matter of playing the way I can and show the coaches that they can have confidence in me out there and I can help the team."
Cory Schneider figures to be back in net after getting the night off Friday. He’s started both games against the Flyers this season and given up seven goals on 74 shots.
Ray Emery could start for Philadelphia after Steve Mason faced Carolina. Emery suffered the loss in Nashville but is 3-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA over his past four starts, which includes a win over New Jersey. He’s won five of his last six starts against the Devils with a 1.50 GAA.
Mason has a 2.37 GAA over a 0-3-2 span. He’s 0-5-0 with a 3.64 GAA in his career against New Jersey.