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'CANES FACE FOUR STRAIGHT ON ROAD

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
RALEIGH (FEB. 26, 2001) -- The Thrashers, Islanders, Devils and Blackhawks. Four teams the Carolina Hurricanes have recorded wins against this season. And, at times, four teams they have struggled against.

The Hurricanes departed from Raleigh-Durham International Airport Monday for the first destination on their four-game road trip—Atlanta.

Carolina boasts an 8-0-0-0 all-time record against the second-year Georgia franchise that has struggled of late dropping five straight games. In fact, the Thrashers have managed just two wins since the All-Star break and three wins since Dec. 29.

Still, the Thrashers have given the Hurricanes a few scares this season. On Feb. 21, Atlanta took a 2-2 tie into the second intermission. Luckily, two third-period goals from rookie winger Shane Willis and two more off the sticks of Jeff O’Neill and Sandis Ozolinsh sealed the Carolina victory.

On Feb. 1 at Philips Arena the Hurricanes lead was 1-0 going into the third period. The Hurricanes needed goals from defenseman Kevin Hatcher and winger Martin Gelinas to record a 3-1 victory that night.

Back on Dec. 6, the Thrashers scored the only first period goal and had the game tied 2-2 through 8:01 of the second when Carolina forward Tommy Westlund put the Hurricanes ahead for good. Winger Sami Kapanen and defenseman Dave Karpa each found the net in the third period for a 5-3 Hurricanes victory.

Immediately following Tuesday night’s game in Atlanta, the Hurricanes will depart for Long Island. On Thursday, Carolina will play their third of four regular season games against the New York Islanders.

Carolina fell to the Islanders 2-1 when they visited Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 19. The loss was the second of a four-game skid for the Hurricanes and part of a stretch that saw the Hurricanes go 1-4-1-1 between Dec. 9 and Dec. 26.

When the Islanders visited Raleigh on Jan. 7, they become the fourth victim of a nine-game Carolina unbeaten streak as the Hurricanes dealt New York a 5-2 loss. Carolina centerman Rod Brind’Amour registered a hat trick that night, his second game after returning from a groin injury that kept him out of the Hurricanes lineup for three games.

The Hurricanes will battle cross-town traffic to visit the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Carolina posted the only win of the teams’ season series (3-2) on Feb. 23 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Shane Willis got the puck past New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur twice for his second NHL multi-goal game.

On Oct. 27, the Devils skated into Raleigh for the first sell out of the season. The 18,730 fans watched the two teams battle to a 3-3 tie. New Jersey wingman Patrik Elias netted the game-tying goal in the third period.

The Hurricanes visited New Jersey at Continental Airlines Arena on Nov. 18 and suffered their first overtime loss of the season, 3-2. Still, Carolina earned a point in the Eastern Conference standings that may prove critical during the playoff stretch run.

The Hurricanes finish their road trip at Chicago’s United Center on Sunday. This season, Carolina posts a 4-11-3-1 record against Western Conference opponents, including a 2-1win against Chicago on Dec. 31 in Raleigh.

The 41-game road schedule that all National Hockey League teams face does wear on teams by the end of the 82-game regular season. Despite the grind, the Hurricanes have an opportunity to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings and prepare for their playoff push with this road trip.

Carolina Hurricanes Website Reporter Kyle S. Hanlin can be reached at kyleh@carolinahurricanes.com.

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