FLYERS (19-22-3) at HURRICANES (17-23-3)
TV: CSN-PH, FS-CR
Last 10: Philadelphia 5-5-0; Carolina 1-8-1
Big story: With little to play for, both teams are focusing on strong finishes and positive development time for their younger players.
Flyers: Oliver Lauridsen wasn't expected to get an opportunity to play in the NHL for at least another season. The 6-foot-6 native of Denmark, in his second full season in the American Hockey League, was summoned to the NHL on March 29 after injuries to Braydon Coburn and Andrej Meszaros.
In 11 games, Lauridsen has one assist, a minus-2 rating and 24 penalty minutes while averaging 14:02 per game in ice time.
Playing physical isn't a problem for Lauridsen -- he had his second NHL fight Thursday when he dropped the gloves with New Jersey's David Clarkson in the third period of their game.
"He's been steady," defense partner Luke Schenn said. "I didn't really know too much about him, him being at Adirondack [AHL]. But the obvious thing is he's a big, strong guy. He's been doing a pretty good job lately of being physical and being hard on other forwards."
Hurricanes: It's cliché to talk about the long tough road a young player takes to get to the NHL. But in the case of Carolina rookie forward Nicolas Blanchard, his road was nearly a lethal trip.
Blanchard sustained serious injuries in a 2009 bus accident while playing for the Hurricanes' American Hockey League team, the Albany River Rats. The bus slid off an icy road and the guardrail crashed through the bus window, slicing Blanchard's side open and leaving him with a number of other serious -- but not life-threatening -- injuries.
He spent about a month in the hospital, but was skating by July and took part in Hurricanes training camp in September 2009. This season he earned his first NHL call-up on April 10, and made his NHL debut April 11. In four games he has three shots on goal, a minus-1 rating and 15 penalty minutes. Rather than worry about his first NHL game, Blanchard said he was excited.
"I almost saw death, so I'm not really scared when I'm on the ice," Blanchard told the Hurricanes' website. "For me, it was like a wake-up call to enjoy life. I wanted to accomplish my dream of playing in the NHL. I never gave up, and today I'm in the locker room with the boys enjoying my time. I want to make sure I can stay here as long as I can."
Who's hot: Flyers captain Claude Giroux has a goal and four assists in his past three games. … Hurricanes captain Eric Staal had his four-game scoring streak snapped in his last game, but still has eight points in his past nine games.
Injury report: The Flyers will be missing forwards Maxime Talbot (leg), Zac Rinaldo (high ankle sprain) and Jody Shelley (hip), and defensemen Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Bruno Gervais (torn stomach muscle) and Kent Huskins (concussion). … For the Hurricanes, goalie Cam Ward (knee), defenseman Joni Pitkanen (heel) and forwards Tim Brent (lower body) and Drayson Bowman (upper body) are out, and forward Jeff Skinner (upper body) is questionable.
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