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Gameday: Canes vs. Flyers

Friday, 10.2.2009 / 11:26 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Gameday: Canes vs. Flyers
The Canes’ one pending item of injury news didn’t turn out as well as had been hoped this morning, as defenseman Joni Pitkanen will not play tonight against the team that drafted him, the Philadelphia Flyers.

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“The injury is fine and it’s healed, but it’s a matter of only having three days of skating after missing most of camp,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “We all agree he’s not far off, but he’s just not right where we need him to be yet.”

Maurice didn’t officially rule Pitkanen, who is recovering from knee surgery, out of tomorrow night’s game in Boston, but that seems somewhat unlikely at this point. At least for tonight, offseason signing Jay Harrison will take his place.

After spending the summer adding size, grit and toughness to the lineup, the Canes get to see how they stack up against one of the best in that department tonight against the Flyers.

The Flyers have had that rough and tumble reputation ever since the Broad Street Bullies days of the 1970’s, but it’s not always completely fair to the team they put on the ice year after year. However, with players like Dan Carcillo, Ian Laperierre and Chris Pronger now wearing orange, this season would appear to be the norm rather than the exception. Hey, even their goaltender can throw ‘em from time to time (Exhibit A | Exhibit B).

The Canes didn’t necessarily make that their own primary identity with the acquisitions of Andrew Alberts, Tom Kostopoulos and Aaron Ward, but they should now have the pieces in place to play that rugged style of game, if need be.

”We have to be very, very disciplined with what we do,” cautioned Coach Paul Maurice. “We can’t take a lot of penalties against them, and you have to physically be ready to match their team.”

Carolina still won’t be expected to start most of the rough stuff, as Maurice said the main goal of adding bigger, stronger players to the team was more about the long haul than individual cases.

“It’s more durability, and we would like to be more physical in our own end of the ice to break up cycles and things like that, but at the end of the day the biggest team doesn’t necessarily win,” he said. “We do feel that a bigger team will weather the season better.”

The Flyers have one of the best teams in the league on paper, causing The Hockey News and others to name them early Stanley Cup favorites, but a potential weakness could be in goal. Ray Emery, of the two video clips above, spent last season in the Russian league and has had mixed results as a starter in the NHL. His backup, Brian Boucher (currently out with a lower-body injury), has spent most of his career in that role. Will that be enough to propel an otherwise deep and talented roster to a title?

Here’s today’s game clips:


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81