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Hurricanes vs Flyers: Preview

A humongous big pivotal game of consequence.

Is this the year another #53 wins the Calder?
Is this the year another #53 wins the Calder?
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Carolina Hurricanes vs Philadelphia Flyers
February 23, 2016 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
Fox Sports Southeast - 99.9 FM - WRALSportsFan app
SB Nation Rival Blog - Broad Street Hockey

Vital Statistics

Hurricanes Flyers
Record 27-23-10 26-21-11
Points 64 63
Division Rank 6 Metro 7 Metro
Conference Rank 10 EC 11 EC
Last 10 Games 5-3-2 4-3-3
Streak Lost 1 Won 1

Goals/Game 2.47 2.45
Goals Against/Game 2.62 2.62
ES Goals For % 47.3% 50.3%
Shots/Game 30.3 30.2
Shots Against/Game 26.4 31.9
ES Corsi For % 53.1% 49.6%
Faceoff % 54.0% 50.1%
ES PDO 98.4 100.7
Power Play % (Rank) 17.5% 18.2%
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 81.9% 78.8%
PIM/Game 06:33 13:05

Goaltender #1 Ward Mason
Record 17-12-7 13-15-7
ES Save % .915 .932
GAA 2.36 2.70

Goaltender #2 Lack Neuvirth
Record 10-11-3 13-6-4
ES Save % .907 .937
GAA 2.68 2.17

*Stats from and War on Ice

Game Notes

  • As improbable as it may seem, Flyers rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere did NOT score his first career NHL goal in his NHL debut against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Nov. 14. He merely collected the primary assist on the game-tying goal in an eventual 3-2 overtime win for the Flyers. His first career NHL goal would come just three days later in his second NHL game, and from there he would vault himself into discussions among a deep field of Calder trophy hopefuls. 'Ghost' has 34 points (12g, 22a) in 40 games and is currently on a 15-game point streak that hasn't been matched by a defenseman since Chris Chelios in 1995-96. All 12 of his goals have either given the Flyers a lead or won the game, including two overtime game-winners against the Canes in Philly on Nov. 23 and Dec. 15.
  • It's frustrating enough that the Canes have lost in overtime to the Flyers three times this season (that's a first for the Flyers, by the way, against any opponent), but those point swings loom large as the Canes fight to remain relevant in playoff contention. The Canes are four points behind the Penguins and five points behind the Red Wings for the last wild card spot with only 22 games remaining. The Devils are standing between them and the Flyers are standing only one point behind them with two games in hand. Not to mention there's a trade deadline coming up one week (and four games) from now with major decisions to be made about key players. So yeah, this game is just a bit pivotal.
  • The Canes hope to get good news this morning regarding Justin Faulk, who has missed six games with a lower body injury. He's been practicing with the team and took warmups Sunday, so perhaps one more day of rest and recuperation (the team didn't practice yesterday) will be enough to allow his return to the lineup. There aren't any other anticipated changes to the Canes lineup, though that may change during the morning skate so stay tuned for updates.
  • The Flyers have good news and bad news on the injury front as well. Captain and team points leader Claude Giroux (16g, 33a, 40pts) will miss today's game with an upper body injury, and Michael Del Zotto has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. However, Sean Couturier skated with the team yesterday and may be returning tonight, a full week ahead of schedule. Couturier had scored 15 points (6g, 9a) in his last 15 games played before suffering a lower body injury.
  • Michal Neuvirth is expected to get the start in net tonight for the Flyers.
  • Jordan Staal currently leads the Canes with 38 points (15g, 23a) and has points in five straight games (3g, 4a) and 23 points in his last 20 games. Jeff Skinner has three points in his last two games and scored all three goals against the Flyers when the teams last met in December. Congratulations to Elias Lindholm, who is scheduled to play in his 200th career NHL game tonight.
  • Tonight's game is moving to the Fox Sports Southeast broadcast, and it's also the free game of the week on NHL GameCenter. The Canes are back in black tonight, and are 6-0-3 this season when wearing their alternate jerseys.

Projected Lineups

Hurricanes (UPDATED 12:15 pm from morning skate)

Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Riley Nash

Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Michal Jordan

Cam Ward
Eddie Lack

Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Justin Faulk (lower body), Nathan Gerbe (healthy), Brad Malone (healthy)

Flyers (UPDATED 12:15 pm from morning skate)

Sam Gagner - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton - Nick Cousins - Matt Read
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White

Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Brandon ManningRadko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth
Steve Mason

Injuries and Scratches: Michael Del Zotto (IR upper body), Jordan Weal (IR upper body), *Claude Giroux (upper body), R.J. Umberger (healthy), Evgeny Medvedev (healthy)

Storm Debris

  • Canes Gameday hub [].
  • Flyers' Giroux out vs. Carolina; Couturier says he's ready to go [].
  • Flyers injury updates: Del Zotto done for season, Couturier and Giroux day-to-day [Broad Street Hockey].
  • Canes young defensemen overcome pressure, fatigue [N&O].
  • Related, don't miss a great read from Kyle and Brian on Jaccob Slavin [Canes Country].
  • Sportsnet analyst Elliotte Friedman held a Reddit AMA yesterday (includes a few opinions on the Canes) [Reddit]
  • Ron Francis has a week to define his tenure with the Canes (should it involve selling off everything including the stuff that is nailed down?) [N&O].
  • Wade Minter completed his diary of the Canes Alumni Game [Section 328]. And in case you missed the first two installments, [Part 1] [Part 2].