A day after being formally eliminated from playoff consideration, the Flyers head to Carolina to face the Hurricanes, four games away from the end of a disappointing season.
Philadelphia (19-22-3) has struggled all season with injuries and underperforming players. Until a few weeks ago, when they won four straight, they could not muster up enough solid, consistent play to win more than two games in a row all season.
Comming off of a 3-0, shut-out loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, the Flyers are now playing more for pride than anything. They have a chance to finish slightly above .500 if they can win their last four games in a row, but that is highly unlikely given this season's play, as mentioned.
The Hurricanes (17-23-3) had begun the season with less expectations and initially exceeded them, leading the Southeast Division for a good part of the year as the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning struggled out of the gate.
While Tampa never got it together (they've been eliminated as well), Washington has surged in the last few weeks, taking over the top spot (and #3 playoff seed in the East) in the division. Carolina, on the other hand, began losing more around the same time, and now have just 37 points, third-lowest in the NHL.
Both teams have had problems with suspect goaltending; Cam Ward leads the Hurricanes with a 2.84 GAA, while Ilya Bryzgalov, under contract for seven more years, has dazzled and disappointed in equal measure throughout his net-minding tenure in Philadelphia. "Byrz," as he is referred to by fans, also sports a 2.84 GAA for the season.
The Flyers had won back-to-back games over the Canadiens and Rangers before being humbled by Martin Brodeur and the Devils Thursday night. The Hurricanes have lost 16 of their last 18 contests with five games left to play.