NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 28th
(All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (32-26-5) at Atlanta Thrashers (22-34-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The hard-charging Carolina Hurricanes will continue their
quest for the playoffs tonight, as they visit the Atlanta Thrashers for
tonight's Southeast Division clash at Philips Arena.
The Hurricanes have won four of their last five games and are 11-6 over their
last 17 tests. Carolina has 69 points on the year and heads into Saturday tied
with Buffalo for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh
is just one point back in 10th place.
Carolina has missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons since winning
the franchise's only Stanley Cup title in 2006.
This evening's tilt is the final matchup of the season series between Carolina
and the Thrashers. Atlanta won the first two meetings of the year, but the
Hurricanes have won the last three encounters. Carolina has taken eight of 10
overall in the series and has also won five of its last six games in Atlanta.
The Hurricanes dropped a 4-2 decision Tuesday night in Ottawa, but rebounded
with a home shootout win over the Sabres on Thursday. Jussi Jokinen scored the
game-winner in the shootout to give Carolina the big 2-1 victory at RBC
In the second round, Jokinen used a stutter-step and then snapped a wrister
into the left corner of the net past Patrick Lalime.
Jason Pominville then bounced a wrister off the crossbar, but Lalime kept his
team in the game with an arm save on Matt Cullen's shot. Tim Connolly had the
last chance for Buffalo and he went to the backhand, but Cam Ward made the
stop for the win.
Anton Babchuk scored in regulation while Ward stopped 36 shots for the
Hurricanes. Ward has started the last 10 games for Carolina and will likely
get the call again tonight as he's posted a 13-6-2 record in 22 career games
Tonight's test marks the first of two straight on the road for Carolina, which
will also visit Washington on Tuesday. The Hurricanes are 15-13-4 as the guest
this year and had won four straight road tilts before Tuesday's setback in
The Thrashers are second from the bottom in the East with just 50 points on
the year and have lost three of their last four games.
Atlanta was last in action on Thursday when it was handed a close loss in
Washington, as Alexander Semin had a goal and two assists to lead the Capitals
to a 4-3 win at the Verizon Center.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Todd White each had a goal and an assist for the Thrashers,
while Kari Lehtonen gave up all four goals on 40 shots.
Atlanta is just 10-17-2 as the visiting club this year and is kicking off a
four-game homestand tonight. The Thrashers had lost four straight home tests
before beating Colorado on Tuesday.
02/28 10:58:55 ET