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GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes at Atlanta Thrashers

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes at Atlanta Thrashers

Saturday, April 8, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

Listen LIVE! (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

Hurricanes: 51-20-6 (108 pts.), Southeast Division, 1st place
37-32-7 (81 pts.), Southeast Division, 3rd place

Tonight's Game

The Southeast Division Champion Carolina Hurricanes visit Philips Arena on Saturday to play the Atlanta Thrashers (7 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network). Saturday's game wraps up the teams' eight-game season series. After falling in the first two games of the series in November, the Hurricanes have won four of the last five matchups.

Carolina has five games remaining in its 82-game regular-season schedule, with all games against Eastern Conference opponents. The Hurricanes' 108 points put them into a tie with Ottawa for first place in the conference and 21 points ahead of Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division through games of April 7.

Hurricanes Current Streaks

  • Center Doug Weight has earned assists and points in each of the last three games (4/3-4/7: 0g, 3a)
  • Left wing Cory Stillman has earned assists and points in each of the last three games (4/3-4/7: 0g, 5a)

Milestone Watch

  • Defenseman Aaron Ward is one point shy of 100 points for his NHL career
  • Captain Rod Brind'Amour is five assists shy of 600 assists for his NHL career
  • Right wing Craig Adams played his 300th NHL/Hurricanes game Friday at Washington
  • Left wing Cory Stillman earned his 300th NHL assist with his first of three assists April 5 at Washington
  • The Carolina Hurricanes eclipsed the previous franchise records for wins in a season (43), home wins in a season (27) and points in a season (93) with their 44th win (27th home win) of 2005-06 on March 14 against the New York Rangers

Television: FSN South
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network - WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh - flagship), WYSR 1590 AM (High Point), WMFD 630 AM (Wilmington)

Carolina Notes

On April 5, the Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announced Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican as its nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player best exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Following the 2003-04 season, Hedican underwent surgery on both knees and, in April 2005, made the career-threatening decision to have back surgery. He recovered in time for training camp in September and is in the midst of one the best seasons of his 14-year NHL career. In his fourth season with the Hurricanes, the 35-year-old St. Paul, Minn., native has scored five goals and added 19 assists, and ranks second-best on the team with a plus-12 plus/minus rating. In early February he was added to Team USA's roster and represented the United States for the second time at the Winter Olympic Games.

The Carolina Hurricanes announced on Thursday that fans will have one final opportunity to purchase playoff ticket strips for the first and second rounds of the 2006 playoffs prior to the on-sale of tickets to the general public at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Ticket sales representatives will be taking deposits for 2006-07 season tickets in the VIP lobby of the RBC Center beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, immediately giving fans committing to next season's tickets the opportunity to purchase 2006 playoff strips. For more information regarding Hurricanes tickets, please visit

The Hurricanes currently post a 50-20-6 record, including a 27-10-2 record in 39 games since Dec. 31, and an 11-6-2 record since the Olympic Break. Carolina had its franchise-best nine-game home winning streak (12/13-1/28) snapped against Pittsburgh on Feb. 10. That home winning streak is tied for the longest in the NHL this season (Philadelphia, 10/7-11/12) and the Hurricanes currently have the best home record in the league at 30-7-1 (61 points). With 106 points in their first 76 games, the Hurricanes now look to improve upon their franchise record for points in a season. The previous franchise-high for points in a season was 93, set by the 1986-87 squad.

Hurricanes center Eric Staal leads the Hurricanes with 94 points (43g, 51a). Through games of April 5, Staal ranked fourth in the NHL in points and tied for sixth in the league with 43 goals. He has notched points in 54 of the Hurricanes' 76 games this season. Through games of April 5, he ranked tied for eighth in the league with 18 power-play goals and tied for 15th with three shorthanded goals.

CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 90-of-506 (17.8%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 345-of-419 (82.3%)

Injury Report

  • Left wing Andrew Ladd, lower body, day-to-day, missed 6 games
  • Defenseman Niclas Wallin, lower body, day-to-day, missed 9 games
  • Left wing Erik Cole, fractured vertebra 3/4, out 6-8 weeks, missed 17 games

Hurricanes Practice Schedule

April 8 Saturday Philips Arena 11:30 a.m.
April 9 Sunday none
April 10 Monday RBC Center 11:00 a.m.
April 11 Tuesday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.
April 12 Wednesday RecZone 11:00 a.m.
April 13 Thursday RecZone 11:00 a.m.
April 14 Friday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.
April 15 Saturday St. Pete Times Forum 11:30 a.m.
April 16 Sunday none
April 17 Monday RBC Center 11:00 a.m.
April 18 Tuesday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.

*All times are local. Times and locations subject to change

Against the Thrashers

Saturday's game marks the eighth and final regular-season meeting in 2005-06 between the Hurricanes and the Thrashers. Atlanta took the teams' first meeting of the season on Nov. 12 at the RBC Center, skating away with a 9-0 win and snapping Carolina's franchise-record nine-game winning streak, and seven-game home winning streak. Atlanta won against on Nov. 27, 5-2 at the RBC Center before the Hurricanes scored a 4-3 overtime win at Philips Arena on Nov. 29. Carolina scored a 4-3 win at the RBC Center on Jan. 4, won 5-1 on Jan. 26 in Atlanta and scored a 4-1 win at the RBC Center on Jan. 28. In the teams' most recent game on April 1, the Thrashers handed the Hurricanes a 5-2 loss at Philips Arena.

Carolina and Atlanta met six times during the 2003-04 season, with the Hurricanes taking the series 4-1-0-1 (Atlanta: 2-3-0-1). Erik Cole led the Hurricanes with six points (2g, 4a) against Atlanta in 2003-04 while Ilya Kovalchuk led the Thrashers with nine points (3g, 6a). Carolina leads the all-time regular-season series against Atlanta 22-5-4-1, and has fallen to the Thrashers just four times in 17 meetings at the RBC Center, going 12-4-1-0 on home ice and 10-1-3-1 at Philips Arena.

Hurricanes vs. Thrashers 2005-06 Schedule
Nov. 12 RBC Center L, 9-0
Nov. 27 RBC Center L, 5-2
Nov. 29 Philips Arena W, 4-3 (OT)
Jan. 4 RBC Center W, 4-3
Jan. 26 Philips Arena W, 5-1
Jan. 28 RBC Center W, 4-1
April 1 Philips Arena L, 5-2
April 8 Philips Arena 7:00 p.m.

Nov. 12, 2005 Atlanta 9, Hurricanes 0
The Atlanta Thrashers paid their first of four 2005-06 visits to Raleigh and scored a 9-0 win against the Hurricanes. The loss ended a franchise-best nine-game win streak for Carolina who had not lost a game in regulation since Oct. 8 prior to suffering its first shutout of the season. Ilya Kovalchuk opened up the Thrashers' offensive barrage with an even-strength goal 8:25 into the game. Scott Mellanby scored Atlanta's second goal 2:32 later, marking the end of Hurricanes goaltender Martin Gerber's night. Cam Ward replaced Gerber just past the midway point of the first period, but the Thrashers' offensive continued as the Hurricanes took a season-high 17 penalties, leading to four Atlanta power-play goals. The Thrashers' goaltending tandem of Mike Dunham and Adam Berkhoel combined to make 19 saves for a combined shutout and a win for Dunham.

Nov. 27, 2005 Atlanta 5, Hurricanes 2
The Atlanta Thrashers and Carolina Hurricanes met at the RBC Center for the second game of their eight-game season series, and Atlanta skated away with a 5-2 win. It was the first game of a home-and-home series between the clubs, and their second of three meetings in the month of November. Ilya Kovalchuk scored two goals and earned two assists to lead the Thrashers and take first-star honors. Rookie netminder Michael Garnett made 27 saves on 29 Carolina shots to notch his third win of the season and receive second-star accolades. Justin Williams earned the game's third star, notching assists on each of Carolina's goals to extend his points streak to seven games (11/15-11/27: 4g, 6a). Rookie winger Andrew Ladd notched his second goal of his NHL career to get Carolina on the board in the first period and Aaron Ward scored for the first time this season when he beat Garnett with a long-range slapshot late in the second frame. Atlanta scored three times in the game's final 7:41 to seal the victory.

Nov. 29, 2005 Hurricanes 4, Atlanta 3 (OT)
The Carolina Hurricanes scored their second overtime victory of 2005-06 when former-Thrasher Frantisek Kaberle found the net behind Atlanta goaltender Michael Garnett 32 seconds into the extra frame. Center Eric Staal notched his ninth multiple-point game of the season with two goals in the second period, first tying the game 2-2 with a power-play goal and then giving Carolina a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal. Staal earned third star honors for his effort. Justin Williams extended his points streak to eight games (11/15-11/29: 5g, 6a) when he scored the Hurricanes' first goal 14:09 into the game to begin chipping away at Atlanta's early two-goal lead. Thrasher centerman Bobby Holik earned the game's second star, due in part to his game-tying power-play goal scored with 21 seconds remaining in the second frame. Cam Ward stopped 28 of 31 shots in the game to earn the win, his first since Nov. 3.

Jan. 4, 2005 Hurricanes 4, Atlanta 3
Carolina Hurricanes winger Cory Stillman factored on all four of the Hurricanes goals for his second four-point night of the season. Stillman scored the game-winner when he redirected a Matt Cullen point shot past Atlanta netminder Kari Lehtonen with 12:22 remaining in the third period to break a 3-3 tie. Stillman's four points extended his points streak to a career-best nine games (12/15-1/4: 5g, 12a) as he took first star honors in the game between division rivals. Atlanta sniper Ilya Kovalchuk scored two power play goals in the second period to help the Thrashers to a two-goal lead, but the Hurricanes rebounded with goals by Andrew Hutchinson and Stillman to tie the game before Stillman's game-winner. Erik Cole gave Carolina a 1-0 lead 9:08 into the game when Stillman found him breaking down the right wing. Martin Gerber earned his 19th win of the season, stopping 23 of 26 Thrashers shots. Defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky recorded an assist for the second consecutive game and earned a season-high 10 penalty minutes. Winger Chad LaRose scrapped with Atlanta's Karl Stewart early in the second period and received 17 penalty mintues (2 min. instigator, 5 min. fighting, 10 min. misconduct) for the altercation.

Jan. 26, 2006 Hurricanes 5, Atlanta 1
The Carolina Hurricanes used second-period goals from Bret Hedican and Matt Cullen to take a 2-0 lead before Patrik Stefan scored Atlanta's lone goal to make it a 2-1 game heading into the third. Defeneseman Niclas Wallin used his second goal of the season to open up a third-period Carolina scoring blitz that saw wingers Craig Adams and Ray Whitney find the net behind Atlanta netminder Kari Lehtonen. Hedican (1g, 1a) earned first-star honors with two points, and Wallin (1g, 1a), Captain Rod Brind'Amour (0g, 2a) and right wing Justin Williams (0g, 2a) each earned two points in the game. Netminder Cam Ward Made 30 saves on 31 shots to earn his 11th win of the season and the game's second star. Defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky earned an assist on Cullen's goal, but suffered an injury late in the game when he was involved in an altercation with Thrashers right wing Marian Hossa. Cullen suffered a fractured jaw when he was struck in the face by the puck during the third period.

Jan. 28, 2006 Hurricanes 4, Atlanta 1
The Hurricanes won one for their old captain in front of a regular-season team record 18,930 fans at the RBC Center, topping the Atlanta Thrashers 4-1 on Ron Francis Night. Justin Williams got the Hurricanes on the board first after the ceremony to retire Francis' No. 10 sweater concluded, beating Thrashers netminder Kari Lehtonen 3:58 into the game. Erik Cole reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career with a first-period goal, and Anton Babchuk notched his first goal as a Hurricane with a power-play tally in the second period. Kevyn Adams added an empty net goal to complete the scoring for Carolina. Rod Brind'Amour earned a pair of assists for the second consecutive game and Martin Gerber stopped 17 of 18 shots for the victory.

April 1, 2006
Atlanta 5, Hurricanes 2

The Atlanta Thrashers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 24:03 before Matt Cullen used his 100th NHL goal to get the Hurricanes on the Philips Arena scoreboard. Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice for the Thrashers to earn the first star of the game. With the Thrashers on a late second-period power play, captain Rod Brind'Amour notched his second shorthanded goal of the season, and seventh of this Hurricanes career. During the first period, Thrashers center Bobby Holik was ejected from the game after being assessed a five-minute boarding major for hitting defenseman Bret Hedican into the boards from behind. Later in the period, Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore was ejected from the game for being the third-man in an altercation after Atlanta defenseman Andy Sutton speared Brind'Amour in the groin.

* All Thrashers stats prior to Atlanta's game at Tampa Bay on April 6. All Hurricanes stats prior to Carolina's game at Washington on April 7.

12 Staal
11 Williams
61 Stillman
17 Brind'Amour

SV %
29 Gerber
30 Ward

17 Kovalchuk
9 Savard
18 Hossa

SV %
32 Lehtonen
1 Dunham
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