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Flyers-Hurricanes preview: Another game, another top-notch opponent for Orange and Black

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Philadelphia Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers have a chance to win the season series Saturday afternoon from host Carolina. Photo: Zack Hill.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ schedule doesn’t exactly get easier Saturday afternoon when they play in Carolina, home of the NHL’s top team.

Philly (18-29-10) is coming off a 6-3 loss in Florida, which has the NHL’s third-best points percentage at .733.

On Saturday at 3 p.m., they face a Carolina team (40-12-5) that has the league’s best points percentage (.746).

The Hurricanes have won six straight at home, and have three consecutive victories overall. They have points in their last 12 home games.

The Flyers had a modest two-game winning streak before the loss to Florida. They fell into a 4-0 first-period hole, rallied to within a goal, but ran out of steam.

If this game is close in the third period, the Flyers are in trouble. Deep trouble.

In the third period, Carolina has a 70-39 advantage, while the Flyers have been outscored, 68-47.

By the way, South Jersey’s Tony DeAngelo (40 points in 43 games) will not be playing. DeAngelo, who has been on Carolina’s top defensive pairing for most of the season, was injured in the Canes’ 4-3 OT win at the Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 21.

Storylines

Carolina took over the NHL lead in points percentage with a 2-0 win over powerful Colorado on Thursday. Will the Hurricanes have a letdown against the lowly Flyers?

The Flyers will be trying to continue playing strong games against Carolina; they are 1-1-1 against the Hurricanes this season. This is the final game between the teams in 2021-22.

Flyers’ projected lineup

Line 1: Derick Brassard centering Claude Giroux and Cam Atkinson.

Line 2: Kevin Hayes centering Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk.

Line 3: Morgan Frost centering Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny.

Line 4: Patrick Brown centering Gerry Mayhew and Zack MacEwen.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun; Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen, Keith Yandle and Cam York.

Goalie:  Martin Jones.

Numbers Dept.

Brassard needs one goal to reach the 200-mark in his career, and Giroux needs one point to get to the 900 plateau. This will be Giroux’s 998th career game. Carolina is one of the teams reportedly showing interest in him.

Carolina is first in the NHL on the power play and fourth on the power play; the Flyers are 27th on the PK, and 30th on the PP.

Enough said.

Who’s hot?

For Carolina, 33-year-old center Jordan Staal has five goals over his last night games.

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

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Jones (3.49, .897 save percentage), who had a 4-3 win over Chicago in his last outing, is expected to face Frederik Andersen (2.08, .928). Andersen had an undisclosed injury but took part in a limited practice Friday. If Carolina saves Andersen for Pittsburgh on Sunday, Antti Raanta (2.31, .918) would get the call Saturday.

Former Flyer Alex Lyon was recalled from the minors earlier in the week, but the Canes sent him back to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves on Saturday.

Carolina is allowed a league-low 2.35 goals per game; the Flyers are surrendering 3.42 goals a game (24th).

How to watch

ABC at 3 p.m.

How to bet

Money line (FanDuel)

Flyers: plus-255.

Hurricanes minus-320.

Prediction

Hurricanes 4, Flyers 2.

Prediction record: 20-6.

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