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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, January 17th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (22-22-4) at Ottawa Senators (29-12-4), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The struggling Carolina Hurricanes will try to get back on the right track this evening, when they visit the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.

The Hurricanes have dropped three straight and seven of their last nine contests. The rough stretch has allowed Atlanta to draw even with Carolina for first place in the Southeast Division after the Hurricanes had the spot all to themselves for most of the season.

Carolina's most recent setback came Tuesday evening in Toronto. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Ian White scored third-period goals and Vesa Toskala made 21 saves to lead the Maple Leafs to a 5-4 decision at Air Canada Centre.

Rod Brind'Amour, Sergei Samsonov, Erik Cole and Andrew Ladd scored for the Hurricanes.

Michael Leighton started in goal for Carolina and stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first period, but was pulled after 40 minutes of action and finished with 20 saves against 23 shots. Cam Ward surrendered two goals on 13 shots in relief.

The Hurricanes are 12-12-2 as the visiting team this year and have lost four of their last six road contests.

Ottawa, meanwhile, has dropped two straight games and is in danger of losing three in a row for the first time since an 11-game slide from November 21- December 4.

The Senators' latest setback came Tuesday against Washington, as Alexander Semin had two goals and an assist to lead the Capitals to a 4-2 win at the Verizon Center. The Caps also swept the season series against Ottawa, as they won all four meetings.

Dean McAmmond and Wade Redden lit the lamp while Ray Emery turned away 23 shots for Ottawa, which has lost both of its games since losing Dany Heatley to a separated right shoulder.

Daniel Alfredsson notched an assist in the loss to extend his point streak to 11 games. The Swedish superstar has nine goals and six helpers during his run and is tied with Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf for the longest current point streak in the NHL.

The Senators are 15-7-2 as the host club this season and are playing the first of two straight at home tonight. Ottawa will also welcome Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

Carolina and the Sens have split a pair of meetings this year, but Ottawa has taken four of five and six of the last eight encounters, However, the Hurricanes have been victorious in two of three and four of their last six stops at Scotiabank Place.

01/17 10:45:04 ET

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