The Carolina Hurricanes, (2-6-3), will be playing their first matinee game of the season as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers, (5-4-1), at the Wachovia Center at 1p.m. on Saturday, Halloween Day. This will be a rematch of the home opener for the Canes which they lost, 2-0, as Ray Emery picked up his only shutout so far this season.
While the Flyers have a better record than the Canes do, they are not happy campers. Coach John Stevens recently cancelled a previously scheduled day off and skated the team hard. Philadelphia has lost two games in a row, (Washington and San Jose), but beat Florida, 4-1 before that and outlasted Boston in OT four games earlier.
Like the Canes, they are battling injury problems as Simon Gagne (hernia) is out long term and Danny Briere is questionable for this game. Briere could not make it through practice today and left early.
The injuries are starting to get better for Carolina though as Erik Cole and Tim Gleason both returned to practice for the last two days. Cole could play this weekend depending upon the swelling in his leg. The winger broke a bone in his leg on October 3 and the prognosis was that he could return in 4-6 weeks. Tomorrow would be exactly four weeks since the injury.
Gleason is expected back next week Wednesday for the Florida game. If we receive any updates concerning either of those players, we will post it here.
Tuomo Ruutu will serve the final day of his three game suspension Saturday, but will be back in the lineup against San Jose on Sunday.
The Hurricanes enter the game with plenty to work on as they try to improve upon their current 13th position in the Eastern Conference.
They are allowing more goals per game, (3.5 average) than every team in the East except for Toronto and Florida. If they keep on the current pace, they will end up allowing 287 goals this season after allowing just 226 last year. (Remember that Anton Babchuk was the problem?)
Not only do the Canes need to shore up the defense, but their scoring is also down. They currently average 2.3 goals per game, which equates to 189 at year end. Last season the team scored 239.
The coaching staff pushed the boys hard this week as they worked on the little things, like skating and winning battles along the boards. They really need to improve at every aspect of the game, except maybe for penalty killing, which is currently at a respectable 10th place in the league at 82% efficiency.
Paul Maurice has been mixing and matching up the lines, but for now it looks like he will start the team out with the same groupings from Wednesday night. (If Erik Cole plays, of course this would change).
- Staal, Whitney, LaRose
- Cullen, Brind'Amour, Walker
- Jokinen, Sutter, Samsonov
- Yelle, Conboy, Kostopoulos
- Corvo, Wallin
- Pitkanen, Ward
- Alberts, Harrison
Cam Ward is expected to be in net while new father, Michael Leighton, might finally get a chance to start on Sunday. Leighton and his wife just had a baby girl last night, but he is traveling with the team. The backup is still looking for his first start this season.
Ray Emery will probably be in goal for the Flyers.
|2009 - Cam Ward||11||643||2||6||31||2.89||327||296||.905||0|
|2009 - Ray Emery||9||549||5||3||24||2.62||254||230||.906||1|
The Hurricanes have yet to win a road game this season and will hoping to get that monkey off their backs. (0-4-2). They are also in the midst of a seven game losing streak, the first of such since the 2002-03 season. They have not won a game since Friday, October 9.
This game will be televised locally by FS Carolinas. 99.9 The Fan will have the radio and online broadcast. The puck drops at 1 and we will have the Live Game Thread up and running at noon.
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((UPDATE)) Here is the post-practice press conference with Coach Maurice. Paul Maurice 10/30/09