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by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC (JAN. 11, 2001) – The Carolina Hurricanes travel to Sunrise, Florida today for the second game of a home-and-home series with the Florida Panthers, tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at National Car Rental Center (HTS / FOX SPORTS NET / HURRICANES RADIO NETWORK). The Hurricanes skated away with a 7-3 victory in the first game of the home-and-home on Tuesday, January 9 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.

Tuesday’s game was filled with physical play as six players received five-minute major penalties for fighting. Carolina defenseman Dave Karpa and Florida defenseman Lance Pitlick each received 10-minute misconduct penalties after being whistled for two-minute roughing penalties.

Hurricanes forward Rob DiMaio scuffled with Florida’s Serge Payer at 7:26 of the second period Tuesday night. DiMaio says that Florida’s record (8-21-7-6, 29 pts.) and changes within their organization have their players desperate, which often leads to the physicality seen in Tuesday night’s contest.

“They’re a pretty desperate hockey team,” said DiMaio. “Then again, so are we. That doesn’t mean the game has to be filled with the same things that happened the other night, but it is going to be an intense, physical game, hitting-wise.”

Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice expects a continuation of Tuesday’s activities tomorrow night.

“I think this game is going to be very physical,” said Mauirce. “I think that the team that scores the first two goals – that’s going to be very critical. We have to do the same thing we did Tuesday. Establish our style of play.”

Seven Carolina players found the net during Tuesday night’s game and Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour, Martin Gelinas, Marek Malik, Glen Wesley, Rob DiMaio and rookie defenseman Niclas Wallin each had multi-point nights.

DiMaio is encouraged by the Hurricanes’ recent successes but knows that the Panthers are looking to turn their season around.

“Both teams don’t want to take a step back,” said DiMaio. “We’re trying to build toward something and obviously they are with their coach and new management there. It will be interesting to see what happens.

“Every game now is huge,” said DiMaio. “The points – we’re desperate, fighting for the playoffs and positioning. These points are huge, especially since they’re divisional points.

NOTES: The Carolina Hurricanes practiced at the Raleigh Ice Plex on Thursday as the Entertainment and Sports Arena floor was covered with 700 yards of dirt -- 875 tons -- to prepare for this weekend’s U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam. The dirt dumping took approximately eight hours and 50 truckloads of dirt.

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