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Heeter to debut for Flyers, Akeson recalled

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- With the Philadelphia Flyers focused on the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, coach Craig Berube is using the game Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes to get a few of his players an extra day of rest while getting a closer look at two depth players.

Berube said Calvin Heeter will make his first NHL start in goal. He had been called up twice previously this season, but the 25-year-old undrafted rookie only had gotten as far as the bench as the backup.

In 44 games with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' American Hockey League team, Heeter went 16-25-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

"He moves well in net," Berube said. "He's a competitive guy, good-size goalie. He really moves well in the net, very active in net. A competitive guy, makes second-effort saves."

Heeter was needed after Steve Mason sustained an upper-body injury late in the second period Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ray Emery came on in relief and will be the backup Sunday.

Berube said he's positive Mason will be ready when the playoffs start.

"I think he'll be fine," he said. "I do. I can't guarantee that, but I believe he'll be fine."

Also not playing Sunday are forward Michael Raffl and defenseman Andrew MacDonald. Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann will miss his third straight game with an ankle injury. However, Berube said all three will be available when the Flyers open the postseason against the New York Rangers.

"Little things bothering them," Berube said of Raffl and MacDonald. "Nothing major. Just a good idea to do it."

With Raffl out, Jason Akeson was recalled from the AHL. He led the Phantoms in goals (24), assists (40) and points (64). The 23-year-old was recalled for the final game of the 2012-13 season against his hometown Ottawa Senators and scored a goal in 12:23 of ice time.

"He's a very skilled guy, good with the puck," Berube said. "The game that I saw him play up here he was competitive and I thought he played well. I wanted to see him again. Going into the playoffs, you never know."

The Hurricanes will use a similar lineup to the one it used in its 2-1 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, with only a couple changes. Andrei Loktionov will play on the first line and Radek Dvorak will return to the lineup after sitting out Friday with a lower-body injury.

Anton Khudobin will start in goal. In two games against the Flyers this season he's 2-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Here are how the lineups for the Hurricanes and Flyers could look:


Andrei Loktionov - Eric Staal - Jiri Tlusty

Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Elias Lindholm

Radek Dvorak - Manny Malhotra - Drayson Bowman

John-Michael Liles - Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

Jay Harrison - Mike Komisarek

Anton Khudobin

Cam Ward

Scratched: Justin Peters

Injured: Andrej Sekera (lower body), Alexander Semin (upper body)


Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Jason Akeson - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Tye McGinn

Jay Rosehill - Vincent Lecavalier - Adam Hall

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn

Mark Streit - Hal Gill

Erik Gustafsson - Luke Schenn

Calvin Heeter

Ray Emery

Scratched: Steve Downie

Suspended: Zac Rinaldo

Injured: Steve Mason (upper body), Andrew MacDonald (undisclosed), Michael Raffl (undisclosed), Nicklas Grossmann (ankle)


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