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NHL Press Release: RON FRANCIS NAMED NHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
NEW YORK (Jan. 7, 2002) - Carolina Hurricanes center Ron Francis has been named NHL Player of the Week for the period of Monday, Dec. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 6. Francis posted six points (four goals, two assists) in four games, including his 500th career goal to become the fifth player in NHL history to record 500 goals and 1,000 assists, joining Wayne Gretzky,Gordie Howe, Marcel Dionne and Mark Messier.

Francis edged Boston Bruins center Joe Thornton (4-3-7 in four games,+5 rating), San Jose Sharks goaltender Mikko Kiprusoff (3-0-0, 0.78 GAA,.974 save %, one shutout), Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Jocelyn Thibault(3-0-0, 1.30 GAA, .944 save %, two shutouts) and Toronto Maple Leafsgoaltender Curtis Joseph (3-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .939 save %) to capture histhird NHL Player of the Week award. He last received the honor inDecember, 1989.

Francis opened the week with two goals and an assist in a 5-4 roadvictory over the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 31. Francis became the 31st playerin NHL history to appear in 1,000 games with one franchise on Jan. 2,scoring his 500th career goal and adding an assist in a 6-3 loss to theBoston Bruins. On Jan. 6, he scored a goal in a 4-3 loss to thePhiladelphia Flyers.

In his 21st NHL season, the 38-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie,Ontario has recorded 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 46 games, rankingeighth among NHL assist leaders and 12th in the League's overall scoringrace.

With a total of 1,665 career points (501 goals, 1,164 assists),Francis ranks fifth among the NHL's all-time scoring leaders and is sixassists from surpassing Ray Bourque for second place on the all-timeassists list.

The Hurricanes, who rank first in the Southeast Division and 10th inthe NHL's overall standings with a 20-16-5-5 record, travel to Edmonton toface the Oilers on Thursday, Jan. 10.

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