Less than two seasons after leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup win that still bothers me (ugh: Carolina, Anaheim, and Tampa Bay have each won more recently than the Flyers...), Peter Laviolette was canned by the team after missing the playoffs in two straight seasons. Now, he's trying to resurrect his coaching career and ya know, maybe hoist another Cup with Philadelphia. Obviously, things haven't really been going so well.
Coming off a win on Wednesday, the Flyers could really use another tonight in Carolina to prove to themselves that winning can be the norm and not the fluke. The game should also have some added incentive for Lavvy, as well as Michael Leighton, who was recently waived by the 'Canes and picked up by the Flyers to take a ride on our goalie carousel back up Brian Boucher until Ray Emery can return. With Boosh still needing time to mend a gash on his finger, Leighton will get the start tonight.
Leighton was solid against Tampa on Wednesday, and hopefully the revenge factor will have him fired up against his old team. Maybe if he gets another W, he can finally get a new mask instead of using his taped up Hurricanes piece. Hard to believe a backstop with his staying power doesn't keep a few white ones in his gigantic hockey bag.
The Flyers currently find themselves in the unenviable position of looking up in the standings at the Islanders. But, with only a point separating them and a game between the two on Long Island tomorrow, the Flyers can really shovel out with a pair of wins over the weekend. After that it's the next team up the standings, the Rangers, before the battle at Fenway Park. Three straight wins on the way to Boston, then another defeat of the Bruins in Beantown, would be exactly the statement this team desperately needs to make to save this season.
Carolina is struggling mightily, currently DFL in the NHL and 10 points behind the Flyers. They have a goals differential of MINUS FORTY-SIX. With everything Lavvy has personally vested in this game, if his new team can't leave lowly Carolina with a win, there will be hell to pay.