NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 8th
(All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (39-30-11) at Atlanta Thrashers (34-34-12), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The desperate Carolina Hurricanes will take their
postseason quest into the final weekend of the season when they visit the
Atlanta Thrashers for tonight's battle at Philips Arena.
After the Rangers lost in regulation to the Thrashers last night, the
Hurricanes are still just points behind New York for the eighth and final
playoff berth in the East. Carolina has two games left in the regular season
compared to two for the Rangers and can pull even with idle New York tonight.
Carolina has been terrific in the latter stages of the season, recording a
point in its last five games (4-0-1) and compiling a 7-1-1 mark over nine
Hurricanes captain Eric Staal helped lead his teammates to a victory Wednesday
against the visiting Detroit Red Wings, posting three assists in the 3-0
victory at RBC Center. Cam Ward also made 42 saves to record his fourth
shutout of the season.
Staal, who has 33 goals and 75 points this year, has led by example down the
stretch, amassing 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) over the last nine games.
"We needed to get the win tonight and we did," Staal said. "Now we have to
Erik Cole, Derek Joslin and Jeff Skinner all scored for the Hurricanes, who
are just 17-17-6 as the guest this year and are playing their final road tilt
of the regular season tonight.
Carolina will complete its 2010-11 schedule tomorrow night against the
visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Hurricanes have fared well against Atlanta this season, winning the first
four encounters between the clubs before the Thrashers notched an overtime win
in Raleigh on March 9. Carolina has still won seven of nine and 10 of the last
15 overall matchups and has claimed the last five meetings in Atlanta.
The Thrashers ended a two-game slide and relished in their spoiler role
Thursday in New York, as Ondrej Pavelec stopped 29 shots for his fourth
shutout of the season in Atlanta's 3-0 win at Madison Square Garden.
Rob Schremp had a goal and an assist while Andrew Ladd and Eric Boulton each
added a goal for the Thrashers.
It's unclear if Pavelec will get the start on consecutive nights for Atlanta
or if backup Chris Mason will anchor the crease.
Atlanta has a 17-15-7 record as the host this year and is playing its final
two games of the regular season on home ice. The Thrashers will complete their
2010-11 schedule with Sunday's tilt against Pittsburgh.
04/08 11:04:00 ET