Season opener: Flyers vs Carolina preview

Courtesy of Michael Leighton

Courtesy of Michael Leighton

The Flyers will be showing a bit of a new look in tonight’s opener in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes.  Newcomers James van Riemsdyk and Mika Pyorala will play their first NHL games, while Arron Asham and Riley Cote sit out as healthy scratches.  Ray Emery, Chris Pronger, Blair Betts and Ian Laperriere will be playing their first game in the Orange and Black.

Simon Gagne – Mike Richards – Mika Pyorala

Scott Hartnell – Jeff Carter – Danny Briere

James van Riemsdyk – Claude Giroux – Darroll Powe

Dan Carcillo – Blair Betts – Ian Laperriere

After the offseason acquisition of former Norris Trophy winner Chris Pronger, Philly’s strength is suddenly at its blue line.  Ole-Kristian Tollefsen missed the trip with hip soreness, leaving quick-footed Danny Syvret to take his place.

Braydon Coburn – Kimmo Timonen

Matt Carle – Chris Pronger

Ryan Parent – Danny Syvret

Ray Emery will make his Flyers debut tonight, backed up by Johan Backlund.  Brian Boucher is battling a groin injury and will be out a few weeks.

The Hurricanes are coming off a surprising trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and hope to continue the success in the 2009-10 season.  Led by sniper Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward, the Canes have a revamped blue line, but continue the same hot and cold forward corp.

Ray Whitney – Eric Staal – Erik Cole

Tuomo Ruutu – Matt Cullen – Jussi Jokinen

Chad LaRose – Rod Brind’Amour – Sergei Samsonov

Scott Walker – Stephane Yelle – Tom Kostopoulos

Former Flyers’ defenseman Joni Pitkanen has been practicing after needing minor knee surgery mid-way through the offseason.  However, he will remain off the roster for tonight.  Another former Flyers’ defenseman Andrew Alberts will be in the lineup.

Joe Corvo – Tim Gleason

Aaron Ward – Andrew Alberts

Niclas Wallin – Jay Harrison

Cam Ward will be in goal for the Canes.

Keys to the Game

*Early Lead

The Flyers need an early lead to calm the ranks.  There will be a lot of nerves between JVR, Pyorala and Emery, and a nice first-period lead would do wonders.  Also, with a defense as veteran and poised as Philly’s, a two-goal lead should feel insurmountable.

*No bad turnovers

Carolina is a very fast team and proved last postseason that it can strike quickly and efficiently, especially off turnovers in the opposition’s zone.  The Flyers’ forwards match up well against the bigger Carolina defense and should win the battle of attrition, but poor turnovers and gift goals will even the playing field.

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