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Flyers tune up for playoffs vs. Hurricanes

by Adam Kimelman

HURRICANES (35-35-11) at FLYERS (42-30-9)


Last 10: Carolina 4-4-2; Philadelphia 4-4-2

Season series: It's the fourth and final game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. The Hurricanes won the first three, most recently a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia on Jan. 22.

Big story: The Flyers likely have two goals going into the regular-season finale -- winning the game and staying healthy. Ray Emery likely will start in goal after Steve Mason left the game Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins after two periods with an upper-body injury. Emery stopped 12 of 14 shots in relief and got credit for the 4-3 overtime victory.

"Emery made some big saves and had to face a power play right away, which is the worst way to start a period," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "He made some big saves. Our goalies won the hockey game."

The Hurricanes need a win to finish April with a winning record. A 10-4-0 run in January was the only time they've finished a month with a record better than .500.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes: There are a number of reasons the Hurricanes missed the playoffs this season, but one was their play at home.

Carolina went 18-17-6 at PNC Arena and never won more than three straight games at home. They were outscored 106-103 on home ice, and their power play at home converted 14.9 percent of its chances, 26th in the League heading into the final day of the regular season.

"Our play at home, especially in the first half of the season, really hurt us," general manager Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer. "In the second half too. There are probably five games we could have won."

The players weren't sure why their performance at home was so poor.

"I don't know if we ease up at home or what," forward Nathan Gerbe told the newspaper. "We should be full force and ready to go."

Flyers: The OT win against the Penguins locked the Flyers into a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers. The teams split four games during the regular season, with the home team winning all four, but Berube said his team needs to use its final regular-season game to raise its level of play to have a chance to advance in the postseason.

"We turned pucks over, we didn't have any jump," he said. "I thought we were a step behind. To me, we got sloppy. That bothers me."

Who's hot: Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty has goals in the two games he's played since returning from a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury. ... Flyers captain Claude Giroux had a goal and two assists against the Penguins on Saturday. The goal was his 28th, tying his career high.

Injury report: Out for the Hurricanes are forward Alexander Semin (upper body) and defenseman Andrej Sekera (lower body). Forward Radek Dvorak (lower body) is doubtful. ... The Flyers are missing defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (ankle). Mason (upper body) is doubtful.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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