(RALEIGH—JAN. 29, 2001)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
JANUARY 29, 2001 7:00 p.m.
TV - none
RADIO - HURRICANES RADIO NETWORK
-- With two games remaining in January, the Carolina Hurricanes stand to finish the month with the best January record in franchise history. The Hurricanes have gone 7-3-2-0 (16 pts.) in their first 12 games this month and can still earn another four points in games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs this week.
In their 20-season history, the Hurricanes’ most productive January saw them earn 17 points in the standings — a mark they have achieved twice. The first time was during the 1987-88 season when the team went 8-6-1 and, more recently, in 1995-96 went 8-4-1.
Carolina helped its cause by adding to its franchise-best home unbeaten streak during January. Between Dec. 15 and Jan. 18 the Hurricanes went unbeaten in nine straight games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, posting an 8-0-1-0 record.
The team threatened to break another franchise record when it went 7-0-2-0 from Dec. 31 to Jan. 18. The Los Angeles Kings snapped both the overall and home unbeaten streaks when they handed the Hurricanes a 6-3 loss on Jan. 20. The franchise-best unbeaten streak is 10, set Jan. 20 – Feb. 10, 1982.
The Hurricanes’ schedule has played an important role in the team’s January success. Carolina has played nine of its 12 games this month in the friendly confines of the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Having only one set of back-to-back games (1/6 and 1/7 vs. Colorado and New York Islanders, respectfully) also helped the team achieve their high January marks as goaltender Arturs Irbe was able to start every game.
February’s schedule will not be as forgiving. Carolina starts the month by traveling to Atlanta for Game 2 of a back-to-back series. The All-Star break will provide the team a bit of rest between Feb. 2 and Feb 6 to prepare for a four-game road trip beginning with back-to-back games at Phoenix and Los Angeles. The team returns to Raleigh to play host to Phoenix on Feb. 16 and will play six games between then and Feb. 24.
Coach Paul Maurice has said the team’s backup goaltender will play at some point in February to rest Irbe.