SB Nation Rival Blog: Broad Street Hockey
Hurricanes Record: 35-35-11 | 81 pts | 7th Metro | 13th EC
Flyers Record: 42-30-9 | 93 pts | 3rd Metro | 7th EC
For those seeking closure on the Carolina Hurricanes 2013-14 season, well, the time is nigh, as it should be in the rear view mirror by around 6:00 pm this evening. That's not to say there aren't a few story lines heading into today's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers are in the playoffs, and today's outcome won't change their position in the standings. By virtue of yesterday's 4-3 overtime win over the Penguins, which had its own share of sideshow, they secured third spot in the Metropolitan division and will face the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. It's possible that between the Penguins and the Rangers the focus of the Flyers is elsewhere than on today's opponent.
Yesterday's win was not without concern, as starting goaltender Steve Mason collided with Jayson Megna late in the second period and did not return for the third. Head coach Craig Berube said Mason was removed from the game as a precaution and should be available for Game 1 against the Rangers. Ray Emery stopped 12 of 14 shots in relief to preserve the win, and will likely get the start today, perhaps backed up by Cal Heeter, who was recalled last night along with forward Jason Akeson from the Adirondack Phantoms. Both players are expected to be available for today's game. Otherwise, there are no known changes to the Flyers lineup going into today's game. Zac Rinaldo remains out as he serves a four-game suspension, and Nicklas Grossmann is questionable with a lower body injury.
The Hurricanes arrive in Philadelphia having accomplished a feat previously not repeated since 1989 - a regular season win at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Now today they have a chance to knock down another barrier if they can complete a regular season sweep of the Flyers, something they haven't done since they were the Hartford Whalers (1991-92). The Canes won in Raleigh on October 6th (2-1) and November 5th (2-1 OT), and in Philly on January 22nd (3-2).
If the Canes practiced yesterday before leaving Detroit there were no reports, and with an early start they won't practice today, so there are no known changes to the line-up other than the re-assignment of Zach Boychuk to Charlotte yesterday, which implies that Radek Dvorak will draw in. It's a toss-up as to who will be in net. Alexander Semin (upper body) and Andrej Sekera (abdominal surgery) remain out.
As if the captain needed an impetus to finish the season on a high note, Eric Staal is one assist away from 400 career assists. Jeff Skinner has tied his career-best 31 goals.
Finally, lest there was any thought that the Canes 2013-14 season would go gentle into that good night, from the morning paper... I'll just leave these here:
- Chip Alexander: Why the Carolina Hurricanes missed the playoffs again (punchline, they weren't good enough)
- Luke DeCock: 'Even more' clear now that Hurricanes' issues start at top
Note the early start time and broadcast channels. We'll have the game thread ready to roll by 2:30 pm. See you there.