The Philadelphia Flyers will try to extend their winning streak to a season-long seven games when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
The Flyers have been off for two days after a 1-0 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens that propelled them into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Philadelphia is 10-0-2 in its past 12 games and currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division standings — one point behind the first-place Washington Capitals and two points ahead of the third-place Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Hurricanes are in the playoff hunt, but have lost six straight games — sitting four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
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It’s Petr Mrazek’s crease now, as Brian Elliott (lower body) and Michal Neuvirth (lower body) are both on the shelf.
Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom have shown great chemistry on the second line, but GM Ron Hextall said Wednesday that Wayne Simmonds (upper body) skated at practice and is about 10 days away from returning.
Taylor Leier, who had been scratched in nine of the previous 10 games, will replace Jordan Weal. Johnny Oduya, who was recently claimed off waivers, has yet to join the team because of immigration issues.
Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom — Nolan Patrick — Jakub Voracek
Taylor Leier — Scott Laughton — Michael Raffl
Jori Lehtera — Valtteri Filppula — Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov — Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg — Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning — Radko Gudas
Jordan Staal will return to the lineup after missing missing the previous three games following the death of his daughter.
The Hurricanes currently have a fully healthy lineup aside from the absence of Joakim Nordstrom (eye).
Veteran Cam Ward is getting the start in goal after Scott Darling started the previous two games.
Brock McGinn — Jordan Staal — Justin Williams
Sebastian Aho — Elias Lindholm — Teuvo Teravainen
Jeff Skinner — Lucas Wallmark — Phillip Di Giuseppe
Victor Rask — Derek Ryan — Lee Stempniak
Jaccob Slavin — Justin Faulk
Haydn Fleury — Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Three Storylines to Watch
Expect an inspired performance from a Hurricanes team desperately needing points to stay in the playoff race. The entire hockey world has been mourning the loss of Jordan Staal’s daughter, so expect the team to rally behind what’s sure to be an emotional return for Staal.
The Flyers likely have the advantage in the goaltending matchup, as Mrazek has been terrific since arriving in Philadelphia at the trade deadline and is coming off a shutout win over Montreal. Cam Ward, meanwhile, was burned for six goals in his most recent start and his overall inconsistent play has led to a .908 save percentage on the season.
Claude Giroux is making his way into Hart Trophy discussion. The red-hot Flyers captain has 16 points (seven goals) in his past 10 games and currently sits fourth in NHL scoring with 74 points through 64 contests. There are numerous NHL players having phenomenal seasons, but a strong finish by Giroux would at least put him in the conversation.