Flyers face off against offensively challenged Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes are taking their shots, but that’s the extent of the offense in many situations.
Sorting out those shortcomings remains a priority as the team goes into Monday night’s game against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers at PNC Arena.
The Hurricanes have lost four of their last five games. In those defeats, they’ve been shut out twice and scored one goal in the two others.
“There’s only so much we can do,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said of potential changes.
The disappointment mounts because the Hurricanes have felt that in many cases they’ve done the right things — except putting the puck in the net.
“It still looks pretty much the same. We’re getting our chances,” Brind’Amour said. “Five-on-five, the game is there every night. We’ve changed lines and we’ve done that. We’ve got to obviously get special teams rolling, to at least not hurt us. The 5-on-5 game, I think, is fine.
“Switching lines up, we’ll make a couple little adjustments but I don’t know if that’s really the answer.”
The Hurricanes could be pressing at times, something that might not make things better right away.
“I think that has been weighing on the guys all year, really,” Brind’Amour said. “There’s no easy answer to it. You have to do it right.”
Philadelphia isn’t without its problems. The Flyers have gone four straight games without winning in regulation, holding a 1-2-1 mark in those games.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing, but we have to move on,” Philadelphia left winger James van Riemsdyk said.
The Flyers dropped a 2-1 decision at Florida on Saturday, but it was notable on some fronts. Philadelphia won 69.4 percent of its face-offs for its second-best rate in that category this season. Center Sean Couturier was 18-for-24 on draws, coming a game after winning a career-high 19 face-offs at Tampa Bay.
Goalie Carter Hart is coming off a 34-save outing for the Flyers. But Florida scored two late goals to pull out the victory.
“I have to bear down,” Hart said. “We’ll regroup and get ready for Carolina.”
Said Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas: “I thought we had the game under control.”
For the Flyers, Monday night’s game marks the fourth stop in a stretch of five consecutive road games.
The Hurricanes have been hurt by the absence of center Jordan Staal, who has missed the last three games and eight of the last 10 games while dealing with injuries.
Staal didn’t practice Sunday so it’s unlikely he’ll be back until January. With the situation facing the Hurricanes, they don’t have the luxury to wait for all the pieces to be together.
“Where we are, every game is important,” Brind’Amour said. “If there are points out there, we’ve got to have them.”
For Carolina, this is part of consecutive games against the Flyers. The teams meet Thursday night in Philadelphia, though the Flyers have a game in between with Tuesday night’s game at Nashville.
The other two matchups between the Hurricanes and Flyers come in the final eight days of the regular season.