RALEIGH, N.C. — The Flyers know how to win close games over the Carolina Hurricanes.
They've done it in overtime all three times the teams have met in 2015-16 leading up to their fourth and final matchup of the season at PNC Arena on Tuesday.
Coming off a 5-4 win over Toronto on Saturday, the Flyers will face the Hurricanes without leading scorer in center Claude Giroux, who is out day to day with an upper-body injury.
However, the lineup gets bolstered by the return of Sean Couturier, who missed the last nine games and 12 of 14 with injuries.
“Just here to try and play my game,” Couturier said after the morning skate.
“G is an unbelievable player, probably irreplaceable on this team, but I think every guy has to step up and chip in and try to take over."
Couturier has recorded 16 points in his last 16 games played. In 40 total appearances this season, the 23-year-old has nine goals and 15 assists to go along with a plus-9 rating.
When he's been out of the lineup, the Flyers have struggled. They've gone just 5-9-4 in the 18 games he's missed with injuries this season.
“It's good to have him back in,” coach Dave Hakstol said of Couturier’s return.
“He's been an important player for us every time he's been in the lineup. He’ll come back in and play a significant role for us tonight.”
With the Flyers facing off against a Carolina team that they trail a point behind as both teams battle for position in the Eastern Conference wild card race, Hakstol has his group playing with a “team-first” mentality.
“I think as a group we've worked hard to be better without the puck," he said. "We've gotta do a good job as a five-man unit coming out of our defensive zone, and as a five-man unit staying in and spend time generating offense in the offensive zone. That's our M.O.”
Giroux, Del Zotto, Weal