Tracking the Storm

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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72