NHL playoffs Flyers vs. Hurricanes: Previewing possible 1st-round matchup


Leading up to the Flyers' Aug. 2 round-robin opener — which officially commences the team's run at the 2020 Stanley Cup in the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament — we're going to break down every possible first-round matchup for the club.

Today, we look at the sixth-seeded Hurricanes.

Flyers by the numbers

Goals per game: 3.29 (seventh overall)
Goals allowed per game: 2.77 (tied for seventh fewest)
Power play percentage: 20.8 (14th overall)
Penalty kill percentage: 81.8 (11th overall)

Hurricanes by the numbers

Goals per game: 3.19 (11th overall)
Goals allowed per game: 2.84 (21st overall)
Power play percentage: 22.3 (eighth overall)
Penalty kill percentage: 84.0 (fourth overall) 

How they could meet

There are a few different ways in which the Flyers can face off against the Hurricanes in the first round. 

• If the Flyers do not advance at all in the round robin and remain the fourth seed, they’d be slated to face the highest seed that advances (for this to happen, the Penguins would have to lose to the Canadiens). 

• The Flyers could also face the Hurricanes if they finish as the third seed, but in order for that to happen, all of the top seeds would have to advance (Leafs, Islanders and Penguins). 

Why matchup could be favorable for Flyers

The 2018-19 season saw a lot of defeat for the Flyers — especially within the Metropolitan Division — and the team was swept by the Hurricanes, going 0-4-0. A lot has changed since. In just one season, the Flyers transformed themselves when going up against this division team. Out of the four times these two teams saw each other in the 2019-20 season, the Flyers dominated play and went 3-0-1.

Let the captain do his thing 

Claude Giroux had an extremely successful season against the Hurricanes, registering at least one point per game. In total, the captain tallied eight points (three goals, five assists). On paper, it would seem like Giroux had a less than ideal season, but to those who have been watching can see the impact he has in every game he plays. 

Many like to doubt Giroux’s abilities and like to note how he tends to disappear in the playoffs, and frankly, that’s a tiring narrative. Hockey is a team sport and a game or series cannot fall on a single player, and yet somehow Giroux is always to blame. This season proves that things are different. No longer does the captain have to carry the team on his shoulders as plenty of teammates are collectively contributing to the Flyers' success. If anything, this run has the potential to reignite the flame Giroux has had in past playoffs.  

Writing a new piece in history

If these two teams were to meet in the playoffs, it would be the first time in history that they do — so the Flyers should do what they can to start on the right foot. In the past decade, the Hurricanes have made the playoffs only once — and that was last season, when they lost in the Conference Final to the Bruins. 

So right off the bat, the Flyers have the edge when it comes to playoff experience and they’ll need to capitalize on that. Sure, no one has experience playing through a global pandemic with no fans in the crowd, but that isn’t going to diminish what is at stake — advancing to the next round with a stronger chance at winning the Stanley Cup. 

Why matchup could be trouble for Flyers

While the Flyers have good numbers when it comes to special teams from the 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes’ numbers are even greater. To have both the power play and penalty kill in the top 10 in the league is no small  feat, especially when going into the playoffs — and that’s the position the Hurricanes are currently in. 

The Flyers found a way past the fourth-best penalty kill only twice out of the 10 times they had the opportunity to. On the opposite side of things, the Hurricanes scored only one power play goal through nine attempts, so the Flyers were able to subside the heat in that aspect of their game. 

It’s important to keep in mind though, that in the NHL playoffs — anything can happen. While the Flyers were able to mediate their special teams for the majority of the season, who knows what forces they’d be up against once any single penalty can determine the fate of the season. 

Sports Uncovered is on all podcast platforms: click here to subscribe now!

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More Flyers analysis for 24-team tournament

One of the most intriguing (and favorable?) 1st-round matchup possibilities

Flyers announce playoff roster, have fans going crazy over shirts

• Scott 'couldn't be happier' with Flyers, but there's more action to be done

• No scrimmage for Hart but Flyers' goalie provides important sight

• Analyzing Hart's situation, another Flyer becoming a dad, roster talk and more

Lindblom has new contract, his comeback is on with Flyers

• Flyers-Canadiens is perfect on paper, but would it be a trap?

• What round-robin schedule change could mean for Flyers' strategy

• What happened? Voracek says calm down, he's fine ... now you know

Key Flyer missing, buzzing rookie, don't forget Ghost and more

• The Flyers' lineup, practicing celebrations, no hiding these two and more

• A 'dangerous card' in the Flyers' hand, Giroux still wows and more

• Fans can purchase Flyers playoff shirts with new slogan

• What it was like to go back to work at Flyers practice in different times

• Juicy opponent for Flyers' exhibition game; some start times announced

Analyzing the Flyers' schedule to open 24-team tournament

5 questions on Flyers' chances in 24-team tournament

Predictions for Flyers' best Game 1 lineup to start 24-team playoff

Who are the Flyers' top 5 reinforcements for 24-team tournament?

• Elliott has sweet new mask for Flyers' playoff run

• Flyers sign a player to extension at position of strength

What to know as NHL, NHLPA finish big step, announce schedule

Things get even better for Flyers in NHL's 24-team tournament

Finding the Flyers' best 1st-round matchup for Hart

Flyers have two top 50 pending UFAs; will they re-sign them?

• Everything Flyers fans need to know for NHL's 24-team tournament

Hockey insider details Flyers’ hotel

Key dates, protocols announced as Flyers near next steps toward return

Contact Us