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Mar 20, 2024 4:26 pm

Hurricanes return home vs. Flyers riding 4-game win streak

Flyers, Hurricanes

The pieces were in place a week ago when the Carolina Hurricanes last geared up for a home game.

Now, those pieces have come together quite nicely.

The addition of forwards Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov has coincided with an uptick in production for the Hurricanes, who hope that firepower is on full display when the Philadelphia Flyers visit Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday night.

The Hurricanes (43-20-6, 92 points) have won four games in a row as they come off a three-game road swing.

Guentzel recorded three points in Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory against the New York Islanders.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said Guentzel, who joined Carolina at the trade deadline from the Pittsburgh Penguins. “(They’re) a really tight group and they’ve kind of taken me in pretty fast here. Going on the road trip with them was really special. It’s just the beginning. Hopefully, there’s some more of it.”

The Flyers (35-26-8, 78 points), who notched a 4-3 decision against visiting Toronto on Tuesday, are on the right side of the Eastern Conference playoff bubble. But they could use another boost by defeating a team ahead of them in the Metropolitan Division, particularly with some apparent moving pieces.

Even the feel-good element of Tuesday’s victory was perhaps overshadowed because Flyers captain Sean Couturier was listed as a healthy scratch.

“I’m putting the players out on the ice to win a particular game, and these are the 20 we decided to go with,” said Philadelphia coach John Tortorella, who refused to further address the topic. “That’s between Sean and I.”

Philadelphia hasn’t won back-to-back games in more than a month since a four-game winning streak ended Feb. 12.

Goalie Samuel Ersson made 27 saves for his 20th victory of the season against Toronto.

“It was a huge game for Sam, just to get a result and get some of his confidence back,” Tortorella said.

In their last three losses, two of those manned by Ersson, the Flyers surrendered six or more goals. Some of the defensive snags were ironed out Tuesday.

“We blocked some shots, and that’s something we haven’t done consistently enough,” Tortorella said. “We’ve had problems having pucks played through us. Those are the type of plays we’re trying to stop.”

The Hurricanes have had four consecutive games and seven of their last eight games with at least four goals.

So far, Guentzel has been just what the Hurricanes needed.

“He’s a really good player. You see it out there,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “He’s been a really good addition. He’s a winner. You can’t have enough of those guys around.”

Philadelphia and Carolina met three times in the fall during a span of less than a month. The Hurricanes won 3-2 at Philadelphia and the Flyers secured a 3-1 road triumph slightly more than two weeks later before Carolina went back to Philadelphia for a 4-1 win.

Only Stefan Noesen and now ex-Carolina player Michael Bunting had more than one goal for the Hurricanes in those three games, with two apiece.

The Flyers have the sixth-best road record among Eastern Conference teams at 17-12-5.

–Field Level Media

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