GAME PREVIEW: Flyers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

The Game: The Philadelphia Flyers hit the ice for the first time since Sunday’s loss to the Washington Capitals that snapped a season high six-game win streak tonight when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Flyers are comfortably in first place in the Atlantic Division, entering tonight with a 9-4-2 record, and five points ahead of the second-place New York Rangers.  The Hurricanes enter tonight having destroyed the Edmonton Oilers 7-1 earlier this week and with a 8-7-0 record to their name.  They are battling with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers for a second place spot in the Southeast Division.

The Story: Tonight’s game will be difficult in the sense that the Flyers will have some catching up to do not having played a game since Sunday.  The team has been on a bonding trip, having played golf in the Carolinas on Monday and Tuesday, and finally getting back on the ice at the RBC Center on Wednesday.  The Flyers have been able to earn points in their last seven contests, something they surely will be hoping they can continue tonight in Raleigh. 

Who to Watch on the Hurricanes: Eric Staal, Center.

Staal is one of the game's present-day greats

The best of the three Staals in the NHL today, Eric will be looking to take his spot in NHL history tonight as one more goal will give him 200 on the career.  Certainly, the Flyers are hoping that isn’t the case, but its easier said than done when talking about one of the NHL’s most gifted centermen.  The captain of Carolina – a role he assumed when Rod Brind’Amour stepped down last Spring – Staal has been an instrumental figure in Raleigh for the better part of the past decade, and was a member of the Cup-Winning team in 2006.  He works well at even strength and the power play and the Flyers will need to keep an eye on him tonight.

The Skinny: The Flyers have DOMINATED Carolina head to head in recent meetings.  Over the last 16 matchups between the two sides, the Flyers are 13-0-3 against the ‘Canes.  In the first matchup between the two sides this season, Philadelphia won by a score of 3-2, but if not for the goaltending of Jason Peters, the score likely would have been a lot more lopsided in the Flyers’ favor.

Notes: Sergei Bobrovsky for the Flyers, Cam Ward for Carolina.  JVR remains a healthy scratch in a lineup that has been very successful in his absence.  The Hurricanes are 5-5-0 in their last ten games, while the Flyers are 7-2-1. 

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