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Flyers-Hurricanes preview: Philly faces another stiff challenge

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Patrick Brown, Philadelphia Flyers
After missing the last 14 games, fourth-line center Patrick Brown will return to the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup Monday. Photo: Zack Hill.

Frederik Andersen’s first season in Carolina has been, in a word, sensational.

The 32-year-old goaltender is having a career year. He has a 26-7-2 record, a 2.10 GAA, and a .927 save percentage for the Hurricanes, and is a major reason why they are atop the Metropolitan Division.

The Philadelphia Flyers, will face Andersen and the Hurricanes when the teams meet in a 3 p.m. matinee Monday at the Wells Fargo Center

The Flyers (15-25-9) did beat Andersen and Carolina (34-11-4), 2-1, on Nov. 12 in Raleigh.  Philadelphia’s current lineup is missing four injured players from that game: Sean Couturier, Derick Brassard, Nate Thompson, and Joel Farabee.

In that game, Farabee and Zac MacEwen scored goals as the Flyers, despite a 40-28 shots disadvantage, beat Andersen.

Carolina rebounded and beat the host Flyers in a Nov. 26 rematch, 6-3.

The Hurricanes have outscored their opponents by 54 goals; the Philadelphia Flyers, losers of four straight since the All-Star break, have a minus-47 goal differential.

In other words, the Flyers better hope Carolina is tired from playing on back-to-back days. The Canes are coming off Sunday’s 4-3 win in Pittsburgh.

Storylines

Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (undisclosed injury) and Patrick Brown (sprained MCL) return to the Philadelphia Flyers’ lineup from injuries. Can they spark the Flyers? Brown has missed the last 14 games, Ristolainen the last three.

Can the Flyers contain Aho (22 goals, 30 assists)? He has 20 points, including nine goals, in 19 career games against Philly.

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Flyers’ projected lineup

Line 1: Claude Giroux centering Oskar Lindblom and Cam Atkinson.

Line 2: Scott Laughton centering James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny.

Line 3: Morgan Frost centering Max Willman and Gerry Mayhew.

Line 4: Brown centering Isaac Ratcliffe and Zack MacEwen.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun; Travis Sanheim and Ristolainen, Keith Yandle and Nick Seeler.

Goalie:  Martin Jones.

Numbers Dept.

The Flyers are 8-12-4 at home, while the Canes are 17-7-2 on the road, the league’s third-best away record. This is the second of a franchise-high eight-game homestand for Philly.

Carolina’s specials teams are stellar (No. 1 on the PK, No. 6 on the PP). The Flyers’ are not (No. 24 on PK, No. 30 on PP).

Who’s hot

Hurricanes RW Andrei Svechnikov has six goals and nine points in his last six games.

Laughton has four goals over his last six games for the Flyers.

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Andersen (see above) will face Martin Jones, a late replacement for Carter Hart, who has an eye infection. Hart was brilliant in the early-season 2-1 win in Carolina, making 39 saves, including five on Aho.

How to watch

NBC Sports Philadelphia at 3 p.m.

Money line (FanDuel)

Hurricanes: minus-205.

Flyers: plus-168.

Prediction

Hurricanes 4, Flyers 2.

Prediction record: 14-4.

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