Hurricanes aim to take advantage of home ice vs. Flyers

NHL Hockey
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The Carolina Hurricanes are having troubles in some home games.

The Philadelphia Flyers are struggling on the road.

Something has to give when the teams meet Tuesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

Carolina has dropped its past two games, and this matchup with Philadelphia will mark the fifth game of a seven-game homestand.

The Hurricanes have lost five of their past seven games overall. That included a 3-1 loss Sunday to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I think that’s the first (game) I can say all year that we had nothing,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We certainly weren’t ready to play the way we needed to.”

The Hurricanes haven’t scored until the third period in each of their past two games.

“You can’t expect to win that way,” Brind’Amour said of slow starts.

Philadelphia is closing a six-game road trip that hasn’t gone well.

The Flyers have lost four of five games on their trip, including three in a row. They’ve allowed five or six goals in each of the losses. That includes a 6-2 setback Saturday at Arizona.

“Right now it’s hard for me to understand,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Ten to 12 days ago, this was the tightest group I’ve ever played with. Right now, nothing seems to go our way.”

Philadelphia has been prone to falling behind with some first-period struggles. That’s a trend the Flyers say they need to discontinue.

“It’s tough to be chasing the game the way we are,” Vigneault said.

“It’s catch-up hockey,” forward Sean Couturier said. “It’s tough on you. As much as we’re battling, we’re not playing smart.”

That’s an issue that has been present too often.

“We’ve got to get back to playing a simple game,” Flyers forward Tyler Pitlick said. “The fight is there, we just have to play smarter.”

Vigneault said it will take eliminating inconsistency in execution.

“Not doubting at all this group’s will or preparation,” he said. “All the last games, we’ve been down by quite a few goals right off the start. We need to fix that and we’re going to have an opportunity to do that in Carolina. There’s no doubt that we’re a better group than we’ve showed lately.”

Goalie Carter Hart has had struggles, particularly away from home.

“We’re going to work with him,” Vigneault said.

Reducing the gaps in performance comparing home and road games is something that the Flyers are trying to address.

“Shouldn’t be a difference between road and home, but there seems to be one, and we need to figure answers quickly for it,” Vigneault said.

For Carolina, there have been some bright spots, with right winger Andrei Svechnikov supplying five goals in a nine-game span.

The Hurricanes are adamant that they need to make the most of this stretch of home games.

“Against Philly, that’s a really big game coming up for us,” Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “We have to get our minds back and get back on our game.”

After this game, the Flyers have just one road game across the next three weeks.

–Field Level Media

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