FLYERS (26-23-11) at HURRICANES (21-30-7)
TV: NBCSN, CSN-PH
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Philadelphia Flyers will continue to take aim on the second Eastern Conference wild-card berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
An 8-1-4 stretch has the Flyers four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the East.
"We've climbed back from a deep hole but we still have a long ways to go," said Wayne Simmonds, who leads Philadelphia with 24 goals. "I think we just need to keep our heads down and keep playing solid hockey. Hopefully we can grab that last spot."
With goaltenders Steve Mason and Ray Emery injured, Rob Zepp will make his eighth start this season. Mason skated Tuesday morning but Flyers coach Craig Berube said he is not ready to return.
"It's good. He's in there, he's getting some work," Berube said. "That's what he needs."
Asked if Mason might be available to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, Berube said Saturday against the New York Ranger is more likely.
"We need to see him in a full practice," Berube said.
Carolina took the unusual step of having no practice in the two days leading up to the game. The Hurricanes have lost four out of six (2-4-0), and coach Bill Peters thinks he knows why.
"Everyone's mentally tired," he said. "The mind powers the body. When the mind's tired then the body acts tired."
Cam Ward will start in goal for Carolina, marking his 500th NHL game.
Here are the projected lineups:
Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
Ryan White- Brayden Schenn - R.J. Umberger
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Zac Rinaldo
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Michael Del Zotto - Braydon Coburn
Nicklas Grossmann - Andrew MacDonald
Scratched: Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn, Carlo Colaiacovo
Injured: Ray Emery (lower body), Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Steve Mason (knee)
Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin
Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Jiri Tlusty
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer
Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Tim Gleason
Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore
Scratched: Andrej Nestrasil, Chris Terry, Michal Jordan
Injured: Ryan Murphy (lower body)
Status report: Rinaldo will stay in the Philadelphia lineup in place of Lecavalier. "I wanted more physical energy in the lineup," Berube said. "Zac finishes his checks. I thought he did a good job of adding that to the team."
Who's hot: Simmonds has six goals and three assists during a career-best eight-game point streak. … Ward has won four of his past five starts. ... Tlusty has one goal and two assists in his past three games.