Flyers-Hurricanes 5 Things: Good Position Post All-Star Break

Flyers (25-19-6) at Hurricanes (21-20-7)
7 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 6:30

Winners of three straight, the Flyers return from the All-Star break on Tuesday night when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

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Let's get you set for the matchup with five things to know:

1. In the driver's seat
For the official second half of the season, the Flyers are in a favorable spot.

They weathered the storm of a 3-9-3 skid by piecing together an impressive three-game win streak with decisions over the Islanders, Rangers and Maple Leafs.

By one point, they currently hold the Eastern Conference's second wild card, a playoff ticket eight other teams have a realistic chance of punching.

And after Tuesday's game, the Flyers come home for five straight at the Wells Fargo Center, where they are markedly better (15-7-3) compared to the road (10-12-3).

"We hold our destiny in our own hands and that's exactly what we wanted," head coach Dave Hakstol said Monday after practice (see story). "It's going to be a battle all the way down to the final buzzer in the last game of the year.

"Anyone who thought any different would be a little misguided. We're right there in the hunt."

2. Getting defensive?
In their last two games, the Flyers held a pair of top-six goal-scoring clubs - Rangers and Maple Leafs - to a combined one marker.

The Flyers didn't blow either team out of the water, scoring two goals in each contest, but they don't have to erupt offensively to win games consistently. What will give them a shot night in and night out is aggressiveness and soundness in their own end, as well as timely saves from the goalies.

They've gotten complete efforts from their forwards, defensemen and netminders, for the most part, during their recent winning spree.

"It's three games but I like the way that we played all three games," Wayne Simmonds said last week. "For us, it's just keeping that attack mindset and not making mistakes."

3. Category 1 Hurricanes
The Hurricanes desperately needed the All-Star break.

Carolina has lost five consecutive games, a stretch in which it has been outscored, 23-5.

Ouch.

Still, the Hurricanes are within striking distance of the Flyers, behind by seven points with two games in hand.

"I think the break came at a good time for us," head coach Bill Peters said after morning skate, per the team's official website. "We needed the break, we got the break and now we'll see how we respond."

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: We have to go Simmonds. Stick tap to the All-Star Game MVP, who is also riding a three-game goal streak and owns 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 22 career games against the Hurricanes, for a plus-10 rating.

Hurricanes: Winger Sebastian Aho is having a nice rookie season with 12 goals and 14 assists. The 19-year-old had two assists in Carolina's first meeting with the Flyers and is third on the Hurricanes with 26 points.

5. This and that
• Flyers goalie Steve Mason is coming off his first shutout of the season, in which he stopped 34 shots for a 2-0 win over the Rangers. Mason is 8-3-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in 12 career games against Carolina.

• Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward has lost his last four games, allowing 19 goals. He is 10-11-4 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 26 lifetime matchups with the Flyers.

• The Flyers have beaten the Hurricanes twice this season, outscoring them, 10-6.

• Carolina has the NHL's best penalty-kill percentage at 88.1.

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