RALEIGH _ Just got back from the morning skate, where coach John Stevens confirmed that he will use Darroll Powe on the third line against Carolina tonight instead of Arron Asham.
Stevens said Powe matches up better against the fleet Hurricanes because of his speed. He will be at right wing on a line with Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk.
Asham, Riley Cote and Marc-Andre Bourdon will be scratches in tonight's season opener.
In the future, Asham will see lots of action, Stevens said. "It depends on performance and matchups," he said.
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Chris Pronger on tonight's opener: "You spend the whole summer recharging and using training camp to kind of get your feet wet, and the beginning of the season is always an exciting time of year. Expectations on pretty much every team are high and we're no different. We obvioulsy feel we have a very good team and it's just a matter of continuing to get better and continuing to develop."
Getting off to a good start, he added, "doesn't make or break your season, but it goes a long way to get that confidence and feeling good about ourselves. With new line combinations and new (defensive) partners, there's always going to be a learning curve, but at the end of the day we have to go out and compete hard and play hard within our structure."
Danny Briere, another veteran, also was antsy to play tonight's opener.
"It's always an easy game to get up for," he said, smiling. "The adrenaline is always flowing and you're excited about the new year. Every team thinks they're winning the Stanley Cup on the first night of the season."
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Van Riemsdyk said four of his childhood friends are driving to Raleigh to attend his NHL debut tonight. He added that he now expects at least 100 family members and friends to be at the game Saturday against the New Jersey Devils in Newark _ an easy drive from his hometown of Middletown South.
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Carolina, which reached the conference finals last season, has four former Flyers on its roster: Rod Brind'Amour, Joni Pitkanen (battling a knee injury), Andrew Alberts and backup goalie Michael Leighton.
The Flyers' lines for toinight:
Hartnell-Carter-Briere; Gagne-Richards-Pyorala; JVR-Giroux-Powe; and Carcillo-Betts-Laperriere.
The D: Pronger-Carle; Timonen-Coburn; and Parent-Syvret. Ray Emery is in the nets.