Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers
Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 1:00 pm EST
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas HD Radio - 99.9 The Fan
Hurricanes Record: 5-4-0 (10 points)
Flyers Record: 4-6-1 (9 points)
The last time the Hurricanes and Flyers met, the Hurricanes were coming off an emotional win against the Ottawa Senators in a low-scoring game that was buoyed by stellar goaltending, while the Flyers were coming off a frustrating one-goal loss. Let's hope this game doesn't end up with the same Groundhog Day result, a 5-3 loss that really wasn't as close as the score suggests.
The Hurricanes followed up their 5-3 loss last Saturday with a 4-1 road win on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 3-2 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
In a quick reversal of fortune, the Canes went from a woeful 0-for-3 on the penalty kill versus the Flyers to a perfect 8-for-8 in the two games since.
The penalty kill starts from the net out, and Cam Ward has been up to the task. After starting the season on a low note, since entering the game in relief for Dan Ellis last Saturday, Ward has faced 101 shots and has saved 97, right up there with the league's elite.
Eric Staal remains on a scoring streak, having recorded a point in seven straight games. Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal have points in three straight games, and Tim Brent and Alexander Semin have points in two straight games.
After tallying a game-tying power play goal Thursday night, Semin is now one shy of the 200-goal mark. Defenseman Jay Harrison has two game-winning goals this season. Forward Patrick Dwyer has found his way up to the second line and is third in team goal scoring behind Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner.
The Canes did not practice Friday, so there are no updates as to any changes in the line-up. Here's how they lined up Thursday night:
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alexander Semin
Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer
Drayson Bowman - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose
Kevin Westgarth - Tim Brent - Tim Wallace
Andreas Nodl (healthy scratch)
Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain
Jay Harrison - Bobby Sanguinetti
Joe Corvo (healthy scratch)
Out of line-up: Tuomo Ruutu (hip)
Several Canes players took advantage of a practice day off to participate in a few media events on Friday:
- Eric Staal joined Sportsnet Radio 590 to talk about his brother, his goalie, and his new linemate.
- Cam Ward joined NHL Live Friday afternoon. Ward was also on Hockey Night in Canada Radio earlier in the week, his comments on preparation and early season frustrations are well worth the repeat.
- Jordan Staal was on The Hockey News Radio on NHL Home Ice to talk about how he's settling into his new environs.
- Play-by-play broadcaster John Forslund lit up the twitter yesterday afternoon with a "happy hour" Q&A. I pulled together a few highlights from the conversation and posted them here.
The Flyers are wrapping up a four-game home stand where to date they have gone 2-0-1, with their last game a 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers Thursday night.
The Flyers announced on Thursday they have agreed to terms with Kimmo Timonen on a one-year contract extension, locking up the 37-year-old defenseman and alternate captain through the 2013-14 (likely to be his last) season.
Matt Read continues to set the scoring pace for the Flyers, with 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 11 games. Claude Giroux is still looking for the scoring touch that vaulted him near the top of the league in 2011-12. Giroux currently has 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 11 games, which is good enough for a ranking of 87th in the NHL. Two of those seven points (1 goal, 1 assist) came in his season-to-date best against the Hurricanes last Saturday. I think we all know what this means. Giroux will find his scoring touch again today; it's just a matter of the extent of the damage.
The Flyers are currently leading the league in minor penalties (62) and penalty minutes (202) and are 22nd in the league on the penalty kill.
The Flyers held an optional practice on Friday, and most of the players participated. After missing a week with a concussion, forward Wayne Simmonds skated with the team in a regular full contact jersey and is rumored to be available for today's game. If Simmonds is not a go, expect to see Tom Sestito stay in the line-up to take his place. Sestito scored both goals in the Flyers 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday but saw limited minutes in Thursday's game.
Out of the line-up for the Flyers are Scott Hartnell (foot), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder).
Here's how the Flyers lined up on Thursday (subject to change if Simmonds is back):
Tye McGinn - Claude Giroux - Danny Briere
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Mike Knuble
Zac Rinaldo - Brayden Schenn - Jakub Voracek
Ruslan Fedotenko - Maxime Talbot - Tom Sestito
Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn
Braydon Coburn - Bruno Gervais
Nicklas Grossmann - Kurtis Foster
We'll start the game thread at 12:30 pm. See you there.