Game 82 Preview: Carolina Hurricanes @ Philadelphia Flyers


Carolina Hurricanes (35-35-11) @ Philadelphia Flyers (42-30-9), 3:00pm, CSN-Philly/SPSO

Although Game 82 doesn't mean much to the Philadelphia Flyers this season, there are still a few things to watch for in their tilt today against the Carolina Hurricanes. With a few Adirondack Phantoms taking part in their first NHL game this season, the Orange and Black can finish the regular season with a win before they travel up to New York for their playoff series against the Rangers.

It has already been determined that the Flyers will play the Rangers in the opening round of the postseason and there is no way the Orange and Black can grab home-ice advantage from the Blueshirts, so today's game means nothing in the standings or towards the postseason. With that being said, it would be nice to see the regulars in the Flyers' lineup end the season on a strong note with a productive victory over a non-playoff squad in the Hurricanes. In addition to a good game, it is key for Philly to exit the game without any injuries to key players who will see postseason action for the team.

Aside from those two simple expectations out of this game, today's tilt is made more exciting by the NHL debut of Cal Heeter and the return of Jason Akeson.

An undrafted 25-year-old netminder, Heeter will be in the blue paint during an NHL for the first time in his career. After splitting time between the Trenton Titans of the ECHL and the Adirondack Phantoms last season, Heeter has impressed in his time with the Phantoms this year, as he is 16-25-2 for a poor Adirondack squad. Heeter is 18th in the league with a .912 save percentage and has a 2.65 GAA as well. The St. Louis native also has four shutouts this season for the Phantoms.

As for Akeson, this will be his second NHL game, as he also appeared in last year's season finale. In his lone NHL game to date, Akeson had one goal on two shots on net with a plus-2 rating in the 12:23 of action he saw last year in the Flyers' win over the Ottawa Senators. Akeson leads the Phantoms in scoring this season and is tied for ninth in the AHL with 64 points in 70 games. He will be on a line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds today.

Another interesting note to take away from today's game will be what the Flyers' record will be against the Hurricanes this season. After beating Carolina at least three times each of the prior six seasons and winning each season series since 2000-2001, this will be the first time the Flyers won't win the season series against Carolina since they went 2-2-0 against them in 1999-2000. Not only will it mark the first time the Flyers lost the season series against the Hurricanes, a loss could make it the first time the Flyers don't win a game against the Hurricanes in a season since the club moved to Carolina from Hartford.

After today's game against Carolina, the Flyers will prepare for Game 1 of their series against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Carolina Hurricanes
Overall: 35-35-11
Road: 17-18-5
Against the Eastern Conference: 25-22-6
Against the Metropolitan Division: 14-13-2

Philadelphia Flyers
Overall: 42-30-9
Home: 24-14-2
Against the Eastern Conference: 27-20-6
Against the Metropolitan Division: 15-11-3

Carolina Hurricanes
Zach Boychuk – Eric Staal – Jiri Tlusty
Nathan Gerbe – Jordan Staal – Patrick Dwyer
Jeff Skinner – Elias Lindholm – Riley Nash
Drayson Bowman – Manny Malhotra – Andrei Loktionov

Justin Faulk – John-Michael Liles
Brett Bellemore – Ron Hainsey
Jay Harrison – Mike Komisarek

Anton Khudobin
Cam Ward

Philadelphia Flyers
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Jason Akeson – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read – Sean Couturier – Michael Raffl
Jay Rosehill – Vincent Lecavalier – Adam Hall

Andrew MacDonald – Braydon Coburn
Hal Gill – Mark Streit
Erik Gustafsson – Luke Schenn

Cal Heeter
Ray Emery

Carolina Hurricanes
Goals: Jeff Skinner, 31
Assists: Eric Staal, 40
Points: Eric Staal, 59
Power-Play Points: Jeff Skinner, 19
Plus/Minus: John-Michael Liles, plus-9
PIMs: Eric Staal, 74
Average TOI: Andrej Sekera, 23:40
GAA: Anton Khudobin, 2.23
Save Percentage: Anton Khudobin, .927

Philadelphia Flyers
Goals: Claude Giroux, 28
Assists: Claude Giroux, 57
Points: Claude Giroux, 85
Power-Play Points: Claude Giroux, 36
Plus/Minus: Scott Hartnell, plus-12
PIMs: Zac Rinaldo, 153
Average TOI: Braydon Coburn, 22:27
GAA: Steve Mason, 2.50
Save Percentage: Steve Mason, .917

Carolina Hurricanes
Alex Semmin – Upper-body injury (out)
Andrej Sekera – Lower-body injury (out)
Radek Dvorak – Lower-body injury (doubtful)

Philadelphia Flyers
Nick Grossmann – Ankle (out)
Steve Mason – Upper-body injury (questionable)