The Carolina Hurricanes look to get their 3rd straight road win tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. If you told me the Hurricanes would be 5-5 after October I would have taken that with no problem. This team is still a long way from the playoffs, but they are already better than the 2009-2010 team that went 2-10. The team to this point has seemed to feel more comfortable on the road as they have yet to score a goal at home in their first two games. Granted they were playing the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they both were playing their back-up goalies in Johnson and Neuvirth. With the team feeling comfortable on the road tonight they go up against the defending Eastern Conference Champions. The Flyers were the Cinderella story of the playoffs last season and only got better during the off-season. Its a tough matchup for the Hurricanes, but a winnable one.
The Philadelphia Flyers are coming off a 6-1 victory on Saturday night against the New York Islanders. Both Chris Pronger and Jeff Carter are coming in off two goal performances in the win. The Flyers team is built solid with the only weakness being in goal in my opinion. The Flyers goalies have done a decent job, but that is not what got the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals last year and that has not changed. Since we last saw the Flyers they have added forward Nikolay Zherdev and Andrej Meszaros. Zherdev was suppose to be a long time Blue Jacket beside Rick Nash, but it never panned out and he was traded to New York before heading over seas for a year. The Flyers decided to give him a second chance and the same thing gos for Meszaros who fit well in Ottawa, but not in Tampa. The Flyers did not have a major overhaul this off-season, but the experience their young core received is guaranteed to make them better players. The Flyers are not a good match up for this year’s Hurricanes team as they are the normal rough and tough Flyers which is a staple of their franchise. The NHL actually has a phone meeting this morning with Daniel Briere for receiving a five minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct at the 19th minute of the 3rd period against the Islanders on Saturday night. We will see if Colin Campbell decides to revoke the automatic one game suspension or uphold the suspension.
Getting back on the road after another 3-0 home shutout could do the Hurricanes good. The Hurricanes are technically 4-3, but really 5-3 on the road this season. The Hurricanes seem to have a different pressure on them at home plus playing the Capitals and Penguins doesn’t help. The Hurricanes also made a move on Sunday sending Drayson Bowman and Zac Dalpe to Charlotte, and recalling Joey Matsumoto. The reason for this is the health of Jiri Tlusty and play of Patrick O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan in the limited playing time he has gotten this season has impressed me with his scoring ability, it’s easy to see why he was a first round pick. If the Hurricanes are to have any shot tonight night they have to keep it simple, make sure the puck gets deep, clearing the zone, and the power play. The Hurricanes went 0 for 6 on legitimate power plays on Saturday night. The problem is simple they are looking for the pretty, highlight real goal and if they would shoot more they are more likely to get that ugly goal which is worth the same amount with the man advantage. Cam Ward will have to once again be a star for the Hurricanes to have a shot to beat the Flyers in Philadelphia. I think the Hurricanes will go into Philadelphia and get the big win tonight if they can keep it simple.
PHI Michael Leighton Back Surgery
PHI Matt Walker Hip Surgery
PHI Ian Laperriere Concussion Symtoms
Prediction: Hurricanes 4 Flyers 3 F/OT