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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, January 2nd (All times eastern)

Atlanta Thrashers (19-20-1) at Carolina Hurricanes (20-18-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of struggling Southeast Division rivals will meet tonight in Raleigh, as the Carolina Hurricanes welcome the Atlanta Thrashers to the RBC Center for the opener of a home-and-home series.

The teams will wrap up the brief series with Friday's meeting at Atlanta's Philips Arena.

The Hurricanes, who lead the Southeast with 43 points, have dropped three of four and are just 4-7-0 in their last 11 contests.

Carolina has dropped its last two games and was defeated by 4-1 scores in both contests. After losing in Columbus on Saturday, the Hurricanes were defeated on New Year's Eve by the visiting New York Islanders.

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored twice and added an assist, and Wade Dubielewicz made 28 saves as the Isles skated to the easy road win.

Craig Adams had the lone goal for Carolina, which holds a four-point lead over Florida and Atlanta for the top spot in the division.

John Grahame was yanked early in the second period after allowing three goals on 14 shots. Cam Ward turned aside nine shots the rest of the way.

The Hurricanes are 10-8-1 as the home team this season, but have dropped three of their last five tilts as the host.

The Thrashers have also dropped three of their last four games, but do so directly after posting a four-game winning streak.

The latest setback for Atlanta came Monday night in Boston, as Mark Stuart scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and the Boston Bruins defeated the Thrashers, 5-2, on New Year's Eve. Atlanta split the home- and-home series with Boston after pounding the Bruins, 5-0, in Saturday's home portion at Philips Arena.

Bobby Holik and Colin Stuart tallied for the Thrashers, while Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves in defeat.

Tonight's test marks the second of two straight on the road for Atlanta, which is 9-11-1 as the visiting team this year. The Thrashers will begin a five-game homestand Friday against the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes and Thrashers have split a pair of meetings this year as both teams posted wins on the oppositions's ice. Atlanta has taken three of four and five of the last seven encounters between the clubs and has also been victorious in its previous four stops in Raleigh.

01/02 10:45:18 ET

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