Tyler J. Altemose
The Carolina Hurricanes are in town tonight to take on the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers.
The Hurricanes are 2-2-1 in their past five games and are fighting for playoff positioning. They currently sit in 8th place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of division rival Atlanta Thrashers, which makes tonight's game a playoff preview of sorts.
Tonight is the third meeting this season between the Flyers and the Hurricanes. The Flyers took both games, beating the Hurricanes 3-2 on 1 November and 8-1 just ten days later. It was their most lopsided victory this season.
Brian Boucher will get the nod in net tonight for the Flyers according to Sam Carchidi. It will be his first contest against the Hurricanes. He is 5-1-0 lifetime against them, including a shutout. Rookie net minder Sergei Bobrovsky has 61 saves in two games against the 'Canes this season.
Stephen Whyno reports that Cam Ward will be in net for the Hurricanes. It'll be his 14th straight start.
Here are some Flyers to keep an eye on tonight:
Jeff Carter: Carter had 2A in the Flyers' first game against the 'Canes. He then followed that up with a natural hat trick. [3G, 2A]
Scott Hartnell: Hartnell has three goals this season against the 'Canes, one of which was the game-winner on 1 November. [3G, 1A]
Danny Briere: Briere had a 2-point night against the 'Canes in the Flyers' 8-1 victory on 11 November. [1G, 1A] While 1G, 1A isn't much, it's worth mentioning that Briere is the Flyers highest all-time scorer against the Hurricanes. Over the course of 28 GP, he has 9G and 15A for 23 points. He is tied with Carter (12-12-24).
Keep an eye on Giroux and Meszaros, too. The former has 9 points in 10 games, and the latter has the league's highest +/- rating (+27).
Hurricanes to watch out for:
Eric Staal (F): As of 8 February, Staal is 10th in the league in scoring and 6th in goals.
Jeff Skinner (F): Skinner has 15 points in 15 games--including both of Carolina's PP goals against the Devils--and leads all rookies in points (43) and assists (23). He is second in goals with 20.
Joe Corvo (D): Corvo has 16 points in the last 19 games and 9 in his last 12.
CAR: F Jussi Jokinen (lower body); D Joni Pitkanen (lower body)
PHI: F Jody Shelley (healthy); D Oskars Bartulis (healthy); F Ian Laperriere (post-concussion syndrome)
D Brett Carson has been recalled from the Charlotte Checkers, the 'Canes AHL affiliate, to replace Pitkanen.