RALEIGH, N.C. – The Flyers play Carolina in two of their next three games and, if they are legitimate playoff contenders, they need four points in the two matchups with the Hurricanes.
Carolina has the same lowly record (15-17-5) as the underachieving Flyers, but the Hurricanes’ roster isn’t nearly as talented as Philadelphia’s. In addition, one of the Canes’ best players, Jordan Staal, is injured and not expected to play when the teams meet at 6 p.m. Monday.
The Hurricanes have lost four of their last five and two straight. In those four losses, they have scored a total of two goals.
In other words, they are a bad hockey team, and the Flyers -- who are 10 points out of a playoff spot but have two games in hand -- need to take care of business.
This is the first time the Flyers will meet Carolina with Rod Brind’Amour as the Hurricanes’ head coach.
Brind’Amour, who was inducted into the Flyers’ Hall of Fame in 2015, played for Philly from 1991-2000. He ranks eighth in Flyers history in assists (366) and 10th in goals (235) and points (366).
Carter Hart time
Carter Hart will make his second straight start for the Flyers. He is coming off a 34-save performance in a 2-1 loss to Florida, which scored a pair of late goals that were not his fault.
“He played well, and is just trying to build on what he’s been doing,” Flyers interim coach Scott Gordon said. “It wasn’t a hard decision and that’s nothing against [Michal Neuvirth]. We have back-to-back games here and we’ll see how tonight’s goes and make a decision on tomorrow’s game tomorrow.”
The Flyers play in Nashville on Tuesday.
In four games, Hart is 2-2 with a 2.28 GAA and .917 save percentage.
Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk will face his brother, Trevor, a Carolina defenseman, on Monday. It will be the sixth time that will have played each other.
Their parents are traveling to Raleigh to be at Monday’s game.
Former Flyer Justin Williams, 37, will play in his 1,200th NHL game Monday. He will join Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Matt Cullen, and Zdeno Chara as the only active players to reach that milestone, and he will become the 110th player in NHL history to reach that mark.
Drafted by the Flyers in the first round (28th overall) in 2000, Williams scored 43 goals in 226 games with Philadelphia to start his career. Since turning 30, he has played in 574 out of a possible 577 games, the sixth-most games played during that span.
The Flyers will use the same players as last game, but the lines and pairings may have a few changes, Gordon said. ... Goalie Petr Mrazek, who struggled mightily in his brief time with the Flyers last season, or Curtis McElhinney will face the Flyers on Monday. Both have played in 199 career games.