Carolina has — and rightfully so — been the butt of many a joke amongst Metropolitan Division fans in the back end of October. Having utterly imploded after being dealt a rough hand in the injury department, the team’s overall stats took a turn for the embarrassing and prompted a five game losing streak. In just over three weeks, Carolina went from taking down the Eastern Conference contending Toronto Maple Leafs to getting lit up by the New York Rangers.
With a completely ineffective power play and penalty kill, AHL goalie Justin Peters starting, and an injury report that hasn’t been south of five names since Columbus Day, the Hurricanes have been serving as Dummy O’s to every team they play.
All of that can end Tuesday night against Philadelphia.
The Flyers are one of the few teams in the Metropolitan who are worse than the Hurricanes. Despite taking down fellow basement dwellers, the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, Philadelphia is 4-9-0 and have the second lowest overall points in the NHL – only ahead of the grease fire that is the Buffalo Sabres. The other stat Philadelphia is better than Buffalo and nobody else is average goals per game (G/G) at 1.62. The Flyers only give up an average of 2.85 goals per game (GA/G), which is cute and something to build on.
Save for Vincent Lecavalier, nobody on the team is really performing — and only just barely, at that. On top of that, Lecavalier is injured and listed day-to-day. When your only player who isn’t an embarrassment is hurt, this is not good for your chances. On top of that, whether the Flyers start Steve Mason or Ray Emery in goal doesn’t matter. Both of them are awful. Quite simply, the Hurricanes can actually beat these guys.
Not only can they beat them, but Carolina has an opportunity to beat them on national television as the game is being run on NBC Sports Network rather than the usual regional coverage on Fox Sports Carolinas.
To snap a losing streak as epic as the one Hurricanes are on in front of a national audience can give the team a much-needed show of legitimacy. As long as Carolina can make a strong win and dominate the Flyers all three periods it can prove they are not as horrific a hockey team the standings show. Which, if GM Jim Rutherford re-joins reality, could potentially serve to bolster their position in the trade market.
There is possibility that after Monday or Tuesday’s morning skate, head coach Kirk Muller will report Jeff Skinner, Radek Dvorak, and possibly Tim Gleason have been cleared to play. Both Skinner and Dvorak have been on injured reserve past the league mandated seven days and were reported to be ready come Monday. Gleason is a little more touch-and-go with his status being very much a toss up.
Carolina making a statement win over Philadelphia Tuesday night can give the squad a perfect foundation for the upcoming homestand, reviving their position in the standings and avoiding furthering the “disaster” status of their record.