FLYERS (9-4-2) at HURRICANES (8-7-0)
TV -- CSN-PH (HD), FS-CR (HD)
Last 10 --
Philadelphia 7-2-1; Carolina 5-5-0
Season series --
This will be the second of four meetings between the teams this season, and second this month. On Nov. 1, Scott Hartnell
scored a pair of goals to lead the Flyers to a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia.
Big Story --
The Flyers will be a well-rested bunch, having last played Sunday in Washington. Will they be ready for the Hurricanes' offense? Carolina has scored at least three goals in four straight games, including a seven-goal outburst Tuesday against the Oilers.
Coach Peter Laviolette believes benching one top forward paid off. He's hoping it has a similar affect the second time.
Laviolette scratched Nikolay Zherdev for two games in October, and he's responded with 2 goals and much-improved play in four games since returning to the lineup. He's hoping for the same thing from James van Riemsdyk
whenever the second-year forward gets back into action.
"When James gets back in there, you hope it burns him a little bit to be out of the lineup and he comes back with revitalized energy, like (Zherdev) did, and makes it a point to show he shouldn't have come out of the lineup -- and shouldn't come out anymore," Laviolette said earlier this week.
Van Riemsdyk has no goals and 4 assists in 13 games this season.
Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner
certainly are no strangers, having spent the last two seasons going head-to-head in the Ontario Hockey League. In fact, Hall's Windsor Spitfires rallied a from 3-0 series deficit to beat Skinner's Kitchener Rangers in seven games in the OHL semifinals last spring.
However, their first meeting as professionals was markedly different. Skinner had a goal and 2 assists in 12:46 of ice time as the Hurricanes rolled to a 7-1 victory. Hall, meanwhile, had no shots, was a minus-1, played just 8:47 and was benched for most of the third period.
Skinner now leads all rookies with 6 goals, 9 assists and 15 points, and is third among rookie forwards in ice time per game at 16:28. Skinner, however, is trying to ignore the numbers.
"You hear about it, and you can't get away from it nowadays," he told the Raleigh News and Observer. "But you put it in the back of your mind and not worry about it. My goal is to help the team win. That's my focus."
Who's Hot --
Flyers forward Ville Leino has just 1 goal in his last seven games; instead, he's been helping his teammates score, racking up 5 assists in his last seven games. … Hurricanes center Eric Staal
had 4 assists Tuesday, giving him 6 points in his last two games and 8 points in his last four.
Injury Report --
Other than long-term injuries to goalie Michael Leighton
(back), defenseman Matt Walker
(hip) and forward Ian Laperriere
(concussion), the Flyers are a healthy bunch. … Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen
returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing most of the last three games with an upper-body injury. He must be completely healthy -- he had 2 assists and a plus-3 rating in 23:43 of ice time against the Oilers.
Stat Pack --
The Hurricanes are fifth in the League in scoring at 3.13 goals per game, but their power play hasn't contributed all that much. Their 11 power-play goals are tied for 11th in the League, but their 32 goals during 5-on-5 play is second only to the Capitals.
Puck Drop --
Coaches almost always can find something wrong with a game, regardless of score. But coach Paul Maurice really couldn't find a lot to criticize after Tuesday's 7-1 defeat of the Oilers.
Well, maybe that the game didn't end when the Hurricanes got up five goals.
"It's fun for everybody but the coaches on both benches," he told the Raleigh News and Observer. "It gets to 5-0, you're just hoping to get out of that healthy. Nothing good happens after 5-0 -- for the coach."