NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 29th (All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (31-35-9) at Atlanta Thrashers (33-30-12), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - With a tough April on the horizon, the Atlanta Thrashers know they need to collect as many points as possible if they hope to make the postseason.
So far, so good as Atlanta seeks a sweep of its home-and-home series with the visiting Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Philips Arena.
Atlanta snapped a two-game skid on Saturday with a 4-0 victory at Carolina, just two days after an overtime loss to Toronto. The Hurricanes are tied for 13th in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the last-place Toronto Maple Leafs, who the Thrashers visit on Tuesday.
The Thrashers know they need to take advantage of the non-playoff teams, as they are just two points back of a postseason spot with seven games to play. Not helping is Atlanta's April schedule that features a pair of games versus Eastern Conference-leading Washington, two games against defending champion Pittsburgh as well as a home game against playoff-bound New Jersey.
Atlanta secured two points on Saturday after Johan Hedberg stopped 34 shots for his second shutout of the season and 13th of his career. Rich Peverley, Evgeny Artyukhin, Jim Slater and Niclas Bergfors each had a goal in the victory.
"They went out there and did what we asked them to do," said Atlanta head coach John Anderson. "Pretty happy about the result. There were certain things we talked about in the meeting the other day and they performed, and I've got to give them credit."
Atlanta, which has lost six of its last nine at home, won all three of its games in Carolina this season but has lost both as the host in the series, which wraps tonight.
The Hurricanes have won seven of their last nine at Philips Arena and got a 27-save shutout from Manny Legace in a 4-0 victory there on March 7. Legace made 39 saves in Saturday's loss, which was Carolina's third in four games.
"Manny was real good in the first period and we needed to get more on [the Thrashers], looking for plays rather than just shooting the puck," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice. "It hurt our confidence, the lack of shots early on was not a good sign for our team."
Tonight Legace is expected to back up Cam Ward, who will make his first start since Feb. 3 because of a back injury. Ward is 14-21-5 with a 2.74 goals against average and .913 save percentage in 41 games this year, including a 1-1-0 mark and 3.01 GAA in two games versus Atlanta.
The Hurricanes begin a three-game road trip tonight and are nine points out of a playoff spot with seven games to play.
03/29 10:15:38 ET