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Tuesday, February 9th (All times eastern)

Florida Panthers (24-25-9) at Carolina Hurricanes (21-30-7), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will aim for a third straight win when they welcome the struggling Florida Panthers to RBC Center for tonight's battle between Southeast Division foes.

The Hurricanes have won two in a row and six of their last eight games. Carolina is 11-7-0 in its last 18 games after posting a 10-23-7 record to start the season.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have lost three straight contests and have scored a total of three goals during that slide. Florida, which has also lost four of five, has fallen to 12th in the Eastern Conference with 57 points and is eight points ahead of the Hurricanes.

Florida and the Hurricanes have split four meetings this year and each club has claimed two victories on home ice. The Panthers have won four of the last seven meetings, but Carolina has won four of the last five encounters in Raleigh.

Carolina is expected to get a boost from forward Tuomo Ruutu tonight after he missed the last 15 games with an upper-body injury. He has 11 goals and 25 points in 39 games this season.

"I'm so excited to be back playing," Ruutu told the Hurricanes' official site. "Enough riding the bike and enough bag skating."

The Hurricanes are coming off Saturday's road win over the New York Islanders as Justin Peters stopped 34-of-35 shots in his NHL debut to lead Carolina to the 3-1 win at Nassau Coliseum.

Peters, who was called up from Albany of the American Hockey League on Friday, allowed only a second-period score, while Jussi Jokinen, Patrick Dwyer and Joni Pitkanen tallied for the Hurricanes.

"I was just trying to take the same approach I do every other game," Peters said. "Try not to think too much, keep it as simple as possible, just believe in my fundamentals and believe in my abilities."

Peters was called up when No. 1 netminder Cam Ward went down with an upper- body injury last week. Manny Legace is scheduled to get the start tonight with Peters serving as the backup.

Tonight marks the start of a three-game homestand that will carry the 'Canes into the Olympic break. Carolina is 13-12-3 as the host this year.

The Panthers were dealt their third straight regulation loss on Saturday, dropping a 4-2 decision in Atlanta. Niclas Bergfors scored the game-winner late in the third period for the Thrashers.

Radek Dvorak scored both goals while Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves for the Panthers.

Panthers forward Stephen Weiss, who has 46 points and is tied with Nathan Horton for Florida's scoring lead, is questionable for tonight's game after missing Saturday's test with a lower-body injury. Horton is currently sidelined with a broken bone in his left leg.

Florida has lost four straight on the road and is 12-15-3 as the guest this season. The Panthers will play their final two games before the Olympic break on home ice, beginning with Thursday's tilt against Vancouver.

02/09 10:46:06 ET


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