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Pitkanen in vs. Rolling Flyers Tonight

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes

With Joni Pitkanen healthy and with the exception of Cam Ward in goal, coach Peter Laviolette says the Canes will have the same lineup tonight as they did on Monday against Florida.

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That means Tim Gleason (leg), Patrick Eaves (shoulder) and Frank Kaberle (leg) all remain sidelined for now.

It’s the first of four meetings in 15 days between the Canes and Philadelphia, so get used to tonight’s match-up.  The Flyers are on a great run (6-0-1 in their last seven), but as Monday’s game showed, that doesn’t always matter.

”I thought Florida came out in the first period with probably the best period I’ve seen them play,” said Laviolette of Monday’s loss to a team with only three wins in their last 12 games.  “Desperation definitely counts in hockey.”

Coaches will always say that games are won and lost with special teams, and the Flyers are clearly one of the best in the league in that regard.  Their power play ranks third in the league, while their penalty kill is fourth.  I actually give the penalty kill more credit than that, as the Flyers have managed a whopping eight shorthanded goals so far.

“It certainly makes you a little bit concerned when you use a forward on the back end sometimes,” said Laviolette of the Flyers when shorthanded.  “They’re quick to attack on the PK, so you’ve got to be sharp.”

Simon Gagne, who missed most of last year with concussion issues, has four of the Flyers’ shorthanded tallies and is currently tied for second in the NHL with 27 points.  Captain Mike Richards is tied for 15th place with 22 points, while Jeff Carter is tied for the league-lead in goals with 15.

To give you an idea why the Flyers are so dangerous when shorthanded, all three of those players are used extensively on the penalty kill.

For a more in-depth discussion of tonight's game and the Canes in general, check the latest podcast.

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