Hurricanes-Flyers Preview

Maybe the potential resurgence of some young forwards can finally get the Philadelphia Flyers' season headed in the right direction.

Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier have broken out of extended slumps, and the Flyers hope Matt Read keeps doing the same Saturday when they host a skidding Carolina Hurricanes team hurting for offense.

Philadelphia (10-13-5), 13th in the Eastern Conference, has recorded a point in a season-high four straight games as Simmonds has re-emerged with four goals in that 2-0-2 stretch. The team leader with 12 goals, Simmonds had scored once in the previous 10 games with a minus-7 rating as the Flyers went 1-8-1.

Couturier, the third-line center who had a career-high 39 points last season, had only eight through his first 23 games and none in the final seven games of November. He's come alive this month with a five-game point streak, netting the Flyers' first short-handed goal of the season and adding an assist in Thursday's 4-1 win over New Jersey.

The more notable performance came from Read, a fellow fourth-year forward and Courturier's linemate. He also had a goal and an assist after going eight straight games without one of either, notching his first multipoint game of the season.

"I just keep shooting pucks, getting in front of the net, getting in the hard areas," said Read, who has three goals through 28 games after scoring 22 last season. "Things kind of bounced my way tonight."

Coach Craig Berube is counting on Courturier and Read to keep producing.

"I don't think they were pressing. To me it's about speed and shooting the puck and the attack mentality," he said. "... When they have the puck they gotta make something happen."

Few of the Hurricanes have been doing that. Carolina (8-17-3) has netted one goal in four straight games, losing them all, and remains among the league's lowest-scoring teams at 2.14 per game.

Coach Bill Peters' club is five points worse than any other team in the East.

"Our guys care. Our guys want to get out of the hole we're in," he told the team's official website. "They work hard on gamedays and in practice. If we stay with it, we'll be all right."

Jeff Skinner had a team-high 33 goals last season but is stuck on six, scoring once in the past nine games. Eric Staal hasn't scored any in that span and doesn't have a point in five straight.

Each of them scored twice in the last meeting with the Flyers, and Staal had the shootout winner in a 6-5 win April 13. Carolina swept all four meetings last season after winning only twice in the previous 17.

Philadelphia's Steve Mason was in net for three of those defeats but has never allowed more than three goals in eight starts versus the Hurricanes, going 5-2-1. Backup Ray Emery has won all five of his starts against them, yielding three goals.

Cam Ward's career 3.16 GAA versus Philadelphia is his worst against any East opponent, going 5-10-3 in 19 games. Backup Anton Khudobin is 0-6-2 this season but has won four of five against the Flyers.

Philadelphia's power play is among the league leaders at 23.2 percent, scoring one in six consecutive games, but its penalty kill is one of the worst (74.2 percent).

The Hurricanes haven't scored a power-play goal in five straight games.

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