NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 31st
(All times eastern)
Atlanta Thrashers (17-28-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (24-21-5), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will try to record their fourth win
in five games when they welcome the sliding Atlanta Thrashers for a Southeast
Division battle at RBC Center.
Prior to winning three of their last four games, Carolina had lost a season-
high five consecutive contests. The Hurricanes picked up their most recent
victory Thursday night against visiting Southeast rival Tampa Bay.
Eric Staal's 21st goal of the season came with 1:36 remaining in regulation
and lifted Carolina to a dramatic 3-2 triumph over Lightning. Staal is leading
the Hurricanes in goals this season and is second to Ray Whitney on the team
with 36 points.
Matt Cullen had a goal and an assist and Chad LaRose notched the first short-
handed goal of the season for Carolina.
Cam Ward earned a 15th consecutive start between the pipes and allowed two
goals on 29 shots, posting his 100th career win. Ward is 12-6-2 in his career
against the Thrashers.
The Hurricanes have 51 points and are currently ninth in the Eastern
Conference. However, they are just one point behind fellow Southeast rival
Florida for the East's eighth and final playoff berth.
The Thrashers, who are last in the Southeast with just 39 points, have lost
three straight on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
Atlanta's last outing came Thursday against the visiting New York Islanders,
who are the only club below the Thrashers in the conference standings. Kyle
Okposo notched his first career two-goal game to lift the Islanders to a 5-4
decision at Philips Arena. It was New York's first road win in over two
Rich Peverley had a goal and two assists for the Thrashers, while Zach
Bogosian, Marty Reasoner and Ilya Kovalchuk also tallied.
Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 15 shots in the first period before being
pulled. Johan Hedberg stopped 17-of-18 shots in relief but took the loss, as
Atlanta couldn't complete the comeback.
The Thrashers are just 8-14-3 as the visiting team this year and have dropped
two straight and six of their last eight road tilts. Atlanta will also visit
the New York Rangers on Tuesday before returning for a two-game homestand.
Atlanta and the Hurricanes have split four encounters this year, but Carolina
has won seven of nine and eight of the last 12 meetings overall. The Thrashers
have dropped three of their last four games in Raleigh.
01/31 10:55:00 ET