In a Halloween matinee, the struggling Carolina Hurricanes visit South Philly to take on the also struggling Flyers. These two teams are in similar situations right now, both not playing up to lofty expectations while also bit hard by the injury bug.
Unless you live under a rock, or in some sort of Phillies haze (which is totally acceptable, by the way), you're aware that both Simon Gagne and Danny Briere are injured and out of the lineup. Briere left practice yesterday with groin pain and Gagne will need surgery for two hernias, leaving him out of the lineup indefinitely. Terrible news for the Flyers, but there's also a little bit of good news on the same front as defenseman Ryan Parent and forward Blair Betts both return from injury.
Parent's addition on the back end is a welcome sight to a defensive corps that has struggled all year long. John Stevens will be separating the Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn pairing in hopes to shake up the defense. Kimmo will play with Parent today -- the two were partners for most of last season.
David Laliberte has been called up to take Briere's spot in the lineup and will make likely his NHL debut today. Here are the full expected lines.
Scott Hartnell - Mike Richards - Claude Giroux
James van Riemsdyk - Jeff Carter - Arron Asham
Mika Pyorala - Darroll Powe - Ian Laperriere
Dan Carcillo - Blair Betts - David Laliberte
Matt Carle - Chris Pronger
Ryan Parent - Kimmo Timonen
Braydon Coburn - Danny Syvret or Ole-Kristian Tollefsen
Ray Emery will start in goal for the Flyers. He's opposed by
Cam Ward Michael Leighton.
After the jump, some more on the Hurricanes and a few questions to answer this afternoon.
If you thought the Flyers were in bad shape, you should be lucky you aren't a fan of Eastern Conference Finalist Carolina. Losers of seven straight, the Canes are suffering through injuries to Erik Cole and Tim Gleason. Both are questionable for today. Here's more on the Canes, courtesy of Canes Country...
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.
Rough days in Raleigh. Here's to hoping the Flyers can take advantage and get a much needed victory today.
Questions To Answer
- Can the Flyers kick the struggling Hurricanes while they are down?
- How does Laliberte play in his first NHL game?
- Do the changes on the blueline have any effect?
- How do Betts and Parent look in their first games back?
- How does the threat of a SEPTA strike tonight, accompanied by city-wide Phillies phever, put a damper on the crowd today?
Luckily, the first matinee of the season allows us to catch both teams in action today. The games' on CSN locally and on the air at 610 WIP. As always, join us here for the conversation, and LET'S GO FLYERS!