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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, February 29th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (20-27-12-4) at Minnesota Wild (21-25-16-2), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams essentially playing out the string go head- to-head tonight, when the Carolina Hurricanes and the Minnesota Wild battle at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild fell 3-1 at the hands of the Dallas Stars on Friday night at the AmericanAirlines Center. Minnesota got a goal from Andrew Brunette and 28 saves from Manny Fernandez, but dropped its third straight game. They have just one win in their last 16 games on opposition ice (1-6-8-1).

Minnesota remained without top goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who missed his second consecutive game. Roloson was at home in Simcoe, Ontario, for his father's funeral. It is unknown if Roloson will play in this game.

Some good news came for the Wild Saturday, as center Wes Walz signed a multi- year extension. Walz, 33, who leads the Wild with three short-handed goals, is tied for fourth on the team in goals -- with 11 -- and tied for sixth in scoring with 22 points in 50 games this season.

Walz became the first Wild player in franchise history to be nominated for a season-ending honor last year when he was named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given to the NHL's best defensive forward.

Neither Walz (groin) nor Marc Chouinard (sprained thumb) played Friday. Walz could return for this contest.

Minnesota is in the midst of major struggles on the power play, as it has gone without a tally in its last 17 attempts with a man advantage.

The Wild are 5-3-2-1 in their last 11 home games. For the year, Minnesota is 13-13-6-1 at Xcel Energy Center.

Carolina had a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) stopped Saturday night, as it fell 1-0 in overtime to Montreal. Kevin Weekes was stellar in net for the Hurricanes in the loss. Weekes made 31 saves in regulation, but was beat on the only shot in overtime by either club.

The Hurricanes have been shutout five times this season, but this was their first blanking since a red-hot Brian Boucher turned the trick against them on January 4 -- his third consecutive shutout for Phoenix in that amazing NHL record streak of five in a row.

The Hurricanes are just 9-15-4-2 on foreign ice this season and 3-4-12 in 19 overtime games.

Carolina is 3-1-1 all-time against Minnesota. These teams are 1-1-1 in three meetings at Minnesota.

02/29 10:12:29 ET


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