Hurricanes-Flyers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 29, 2011
Despite trading Jeff Carter and former captain Mike Richards in the offseason to clear space for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's massive contract, the Philadelphia Flyers are again among the NHL leaders in scoring. Bryzgalov, though, doesn't feel like he's giving his new club much of a return in its investment. Losers of four of five, the Flyers will try to win their sixth straight at home over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night when these clubs meet for the first of three times over the next 24 days. In two surprising moves, Philadelphia dealt Carter to Columbus and Richards to Los Angeles in June. The two combined for 59 goals and 73 assists last season as the Flyers ranked third in scoring with 3.12 goals per game. Even without the duo, Philadelphia (5-4-1) is averaging 3.6 goals - second to Washington - with Claude Giroux (six goals), Danny Briere (four) and James van Riemsdyk (four) getting off to nice starts. Bryzgalov hasn't, going 0-4-1 with a 4.62 goals-against average in his last five appearances after giving up four goals on 10 shots as Sergei Bobrovsky's replacement in Thursday's 9-8 loss to Winnipeg. It's not the start the former Phoenix Coyote, or the Flyers, had in mind when he signed a nine-year, $51 million deal. "I have zero confidence in myself right now,'' Bryzgalov said. "I am terrible. (The offense) scores eight goals and we are still losing. It's obviously a terrible goalie and that's me. "I am the reason we lost the game tonight. I am lost in the woods right now.'' While there's obviously room for Bryzgalov to improve, the rest of the Flyers are going to have to pick up the defensive slack with captain Chris Pronger likely sidelined for at least a couple weeks with an eye injury suffered in Monday's 4-2 win over Toronto. Philadelphia has allowed three power-play goals in 10 chances since he was hurt and only gone 1 for 9 with the man advantage in that span. "I don't think it's right to blame one guy,'' Briere said Thursday. "... We were all responsible for goals here and there.'' The Flyers, though, should enter this contest will plenty of confidence - they've won seven of nine at home in this matchup and 14 of 17 overall between these clubs. The Hurricanes (4-3-3), who host the Flyers on Nov. 14 before returning to Philadelphia a week later, are looking to build off Friday's 3-0 victory over Chicago. Tim Brent, Brandon Sutter and Jiri Tlusty found the back of the net and Cam Ward made 30 saves for his 17th career shutout - and first this season - to help Carolina snap a three-game skid. "We really wanted to right the ship tonight and play a very solid 60 minutes and get things going,'' Ward said. "Once again, we showed the way that we are capable of playing. It's a matter of doing that on a consistent basis.'' If Ward doesn't get the start, former Flyer Brian Boucher will be in net for the third time this season. Boucher went 18-10-4 with a 2.42 GAA for Philadelphia in 2010-11 while splitting time with Bobrovsky, Hurricanes captain Eric Staal should be available after getting hit in the face with a stick Friday and spending the last five minutes of the first period in the dressing room. Staal, who has been held to one goal in the last eight games, had just one assist in four matchups with the Flyers last season.
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