PNC Arena hasn’t provided much of an advantage for the home teams the past few days.
The Carolina Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead Thursday over the Minnesota Wild, only to lose 3-2 in overtime. On Friday, N.C. State was surprised 85-68 by William & Mary in its season opener at the arena.
The Canes, 2-4-1 at home this season, get another chance Saturday. They’re facing a Philadelphia Flyers team that has lost its last two games and is 1-6-1 in its last eight — the lone win last Saturday in Winnipeg, 3-0.
Canes coach Bill Peters said he expected a highly competitive game from the Flyers (5-8-3) in the Metropolitan Division matchup.
“It will be two hungry teams, for sure,” he said. “We’ve got to worry about our own situation. Our challenge is to play at a high speed and create quality chances and find a way to finish the chances.”
Only two teams in the NHL are scoring fewer goals than the Canes but the Flyers are one. Carolina is 28th in scoring (2.00) and the Flyers 29th (1.81).
— The Canes’ lines at Saturday’s morning skate were much like the lines in Friday’s practice.
Jordan Staal will center the top line with Eric Staal on the left wing and Elias Lindholm on the right side. Riley Nash will center Jeff Skinner and Kris Versteeg, and Victor Rask will be at center with Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Terry.
Peters was undecided on the makeup of the fourth line. Jay McClement will be at center and Andrej Nestrasil on the right side, but Peters said either Nathan Gerbe or Brad Malone would be the left winger depending on the Flyers’ lineup.
“We just want to create some momentum, in whatever way possible,” McClement said. “Whether that’s zone time or chances or drawing penalties or ultimately scoring goals, it’s whatever we can do.”
— Nordstrom was on the fourth line Thursday but has been bumped up in his third game since returning to the lineup.
Nordstom missed nine games with a lower-body injury suffered blocking a shot, then two games while in Charlotte on a conditioning stint with the Checkers (AHL). He had 11:16 of ice time Thursday and assisted on Nestrasil’s first-period goal.
“I thought Nordstrom coming back gave us more speed, more tempo,” Peters said. “So wherever I play him he seems to be quick and on it, on the forecheck and hunting pucks. We seem a little quicker with him in the lineup. That’s something we want to do — play fast. We want to get quicker through our organization as we go along.”
— There was some talk Peters might pair rookie defensemen Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce for the Flyers game but that apparently won’t happen.
At the morning skate, Pesce again was paired with John-Michael Liles and Hanifin with Ryan Murphy. Ron Hainsey and Justin Faulk are the top pairing.
Cam Ward will start his fourth straight game in net and is 1-1-1 in the past three, allowing eight goals on 65 shots.
“I think he’s played well and he’s in a bit of a zone,” Peters said. “We’ll reassess after tonight.”
The Canes face the Anaheim Ducks on Monday.