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'Canes honor Brind'Amour, then host Flyers

by Adam Kimelman /
FLYERS (38-14-5) at HURRICANES (27-13-8)

TV --
NHL NETWORK-US (HD), CSN-Philadelphia (HD), FS-Carolina (HD)

Last 10 -- Philadelphia 7-3-0; Carolina 4-4-2

Season series -- The Flyers can sweep the four-game series with a win tonight. In their most recent meeting, last Thursday, Jeff Carter and Danny Briere scored third-period goals and Brian Boucher stopped 31 of 32 shots to lead the Flyers to a 2-1 victory.

Big story -- The Hurricanes will celebrate the career of Rod Brind'Amour, who captained the Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup, and also played nine memorable seasons with the Flyers. The team will raise Brind'Amour's No. 17 to the rafters of the RBC Center, where it will join Ron Francis' No. 10 and Glen Wesley's No. 2.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- How is a multi-goal lead a bad thing? When the team that holds it takes its foot off the gas pedal and allows the trailing team to steal the game's momentum, it can create a sour feeling even if the team with the lead holds on.

That's the exact situation the Flyers found themselves in Wednesday, when they took a 3-0 lead at Florida, then had to hold on for a 4-2 win that was sealed by a Danny Briere empty-net goal.

"When we get two- and three-goal leads, we seem to get away from it," defenseman Sean O'Donnell told "It's just a mental thing. We don't seem to battle hard for 60 minutes. Winning in this League is hard. On one hand, give us credit for getting those leads, but it's playing 60 minutes and putting teams away."

The Flyers led 3-0 to start the third, but turnovers turned it into a one-goal game with 7:31 remaining. However it turned out, though, Philadelphia was happy to leave South Florida with the win.

"The third period was a little bit lax, maybe lazy, but two points is two points," captain Mike Richards said.

Hurricanes -- Carolina finished its five-game road trip the same way it started -- with a 3-2 loss to the Devils. In this one, the Hurricanes fell behind the red-hot Devils 3-0, and despite a late rally, they couldn't dig themselves out of that early hole.

"They don't give you a whole lot," Sergei Samsonov, who snapped a 10-game goal drought, told the Raleigh News and Observer. "But we have no excuses. We need a better start than that.

"We need to be a little quicker on everything. Against a team like that you need to be quick and be on your game. There's no excuse for having a game like that."

The Hurricanes went just 1-3-1 on their trip, but still hold a two-point lead on Buffalo and Atlanta for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Who's hot -- Flyers second-year forward James van Riemsdyk has goals in two straight games, including the game-winner Wednesday against the Panthers. He also had his first Gordie Howe hat trick Tuesday against the Lightning. … Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has 3 goals and an assist in his last four games. He leads all rookies with 45 points.

Injury report -- Flyers forward Ville Leino sat out Wednesday's game with a lower-body injury that has him listed by the club as day to day … Hurricanes forward Ryan Carter is questionable with a back injury.

Stat pack -- Wednesday's win was No. 1,700 for the Flyers, making them the seventh team in League history -- and first post-expansion club -- to reach that number. However, their 1,700 wins in 3,399 games gives them a .578 winning percentage, second only to the Montreal Canadiens.

Puck drop -- It'll be a highly emotional night for Brind'Amour, who spent nine seasons with the Flyers and 10 with the Hurricanes.

He helped the Flyers reach the 1997 Stanley Cup Final, and was a big part of the Hurricanes getting to the Final in 2002 and winning it all in 2006.

"When you win, there's nothing greater than that, and there's no better way to be remembered," Brind'Amour said. "I know that I'll be remembered as a Hurricane, and that image I guess of me being able to hold that Cup is something that, around here, is quite etched in stone. This is my home now, so I realize that and I'm just grateful that I'm remembered at all, to be honest with you."

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