Hurricanes Record: 4-7-3 (11 pts.)
Flyers Record: 4-9-0 (8 pts.)
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Tonight's game is on NBC Sports Network and begins at 7:30 pm. Please make a note of the change to the usual station as well as the start time.
The Hurricanes and Flyers find themselves in the unenviable position of the bottom half of the Metropolitan division ranks. While the Hurricanes are holding on to fifth place for the time being, they've lost five straight, their most recent effort a 5-1 loss against the Rangers in New York Saturday night. Meanwhile, the Flyers are dead last in the division but are only three points behind the Canes with a game in hand. They are coming off an outstanding defensive 1-0 shutout win in New Jersey Saturday night in a game where they only gave up 14 shots and had zero turnovers.
Tonight is the second of four meetings this season between the two teams. The Hurricanes won the first game 2-1 on October 6. It's interesting to note that the Hurricanes haven't beaten the Flyers twice in one season since 2006-07.
Neither team has been successful finding the back of the net. The Flyers are 29th in the league in goals/game (1.62) and the Hurricanes are in 25th at 1.93 goals/game (although that number is trending down with only five goals scored in the last five games).
For the Hurricanes, the message has been about persistence and sticking with the system (Hurricanes.com Tracking The Storm: Persistence in the Face of Adversity).
For the Flyers, it's all about finding other ways to win if the offense isn't in gear (Philadelphia Inquirer: Flyers will take wins any way they can)
- Yesterday at practice, Jiri Tlusty was moved back to the top line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. Jordan Staal was moved back to centering the second line with Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm.
- Brett Sutter cleared waivers yesterday and was assigned to the Charlotte Checkers. Radek Dvorak returned to practice and will likely be activated from IR today replacing Sutter (Kirk Muller reported yesterday his guess was Dvorak was "ready to go").
- Jeff Skinner still has not practiced and is seeking a second medical opinion for his upper body injury, so there is no timetable for his return and he remains on injured reserve.
- Tim Gleason (day-to-day, upper body) and Kevin Westgarth (day-to-day, upper body) also did not practice and are questionable for tonight.
- Anton Khudobin skated on his own yesterday, and is still a ways from a return. According to Muller, Khudobin's recovery is a "slow progress".
Jiri Tlusty Eric Staal Alexander Semin Nathan Gerbe Jordan Staal Elias Lindholm Tuomo Ruutu Riley Nash Patrick Dwyer Drayson Bowman Manny Malhotra Radek Dvorak* (IR)
Radek Dvorak* (IR)
- Steve Downie suffered a concussion and Vincent Lecavalier suffered a facial contusion as a result of the line brawl on Friday night. Lecavalier did not play Saturday night, but he practiced Monday wearing a cage to protect swelling and intends to play tonight (for a closer look, here's a video interview from yesterday).
- Defenseman Hal Gill saw his first action as a Flyer in Saturday night's game against the Devils, paired with Andrej Meszaros. That pair is expected to stick going into tonight's game as well, with Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson the healthy extras on defense.
- Wayne Simmonds has the most noted role as Canes killer in recent seasons with ten points in ten games. However, it is always important to note slumping scorers, and neither Claude Giroux nor Scott Hartnell have a goal yet this season.
- After making headlines for his fight with Braden Holtby on Friday, Ray Emery made easy work of the Devils with a 14-save shutout on Saturday night. Emery then followed his former teammates, the Chicago Blackhawks, to the White House yesterday for a meeting with President Obama to honor the Stanley Cup championship team.
- Head coach Craig Berube declined to comment on which goaltender would start tonight but indications are that Steve Mason will likely get the nod. Mason is 5-1 career against the Hurricanes with a 1.84 GAA. Emery is 5-0 with a 0.73 GAA in 5 career games versus the Canes.
We'll have the game thread ready to roll by 7:00 pm. See you at the rink.