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Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES at FLORIDA

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
CAROLINA HURRICANES (34-26-15-5, 88 pts.)

vs
FLORIDA PANTHERS (22-43-10-5, 59 pts.)
Friday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the National Car Rental Center - Sunrise, Fla.

GAME NIGHT
The Carolina Hurricanes travel to Sunrise, Fla., to take on the Florida Panthers in the first game of a two-game road trip to conclude the 2001-02 regular season. The Hurricanes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 in their final home game of the 2001-02 regular season on Wednesday. With the win, the Hurricanes clinched the Southeast Division championship. Carolina has lost just four times in its last 18 games (10-4-4).
The Hurricanes are 10-5-4 in the 19 games since the Olympic Break, outscoring opponents 51-39 and outshooting opponents 567-444. The Hurricanes are 18-of-97 (18.6%) on the power play and 61-of-71 (85.9%) on the penalty kill during that span. Thirteen of the 19 games Carolina has played since the break have come against teams currently in position to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS
The Hurricanes clinched the Southeast Division championship with a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 10 at the Entertainment & Sports Arena. It marks Carolina’s second division title in four years. The Hurricanes have advanced to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three of the last four years and have sealed their fourth consecutive winning season for the first time in franchise history.

MAKING FRANCHISE HISTORY
The Hurricanes have totaled 88 points through 80 games this season, matching last year’s final total for the second-highest season point total in franchise history. The 1986-87 Hartford Whalers established a franchise-high 93 points in an 80-game schedule to win the Adams Division which included the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Quebec Nordiques and Buffalo Sabres.

SEASON RECORD POINTS
1986-87 43-30-7 93
2001-02 34-26-15-5 88*
2000-01 38-32-9-3 88
1998-99 34-30-18 86
1989-90 38-33-9 85
1999-2000 37-35-10 84
1985-86 40-36-4 84
    *With two games remaining

PRACTICE TIMES

April 12 Friday National Car Rental Center 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
April 13 Saturday Ice Forum, Atlanta 12 - 2 p.m.
April 14 Sunday Phillips Arena 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

ON THE AIR
Television: Fox Sports Net
Radio: WRBZ-850 AM (Raleigh); WCHL-1360 AM (Chapel Hill); WDNC 620-AM (Durham); WDZL 98.3FM (Murfreesboro); WFAY 1230/1450AM (Fayetteville); WSML 1200-AM (Graham); WRMT 1490-AM (Rocky Mount); WGHB 1250-AM (Greenville); WEEB 990-AM (Southern Pines); WMFR 1230-AM (High Point); WMFD 630-AM (Wilmington); WJNC 1240-AM (Jacksonville).
Internet: www.nhl.com

CAROLINA NOTES
Team captain and center Ron Francis recorded his 1,700th career point with a goal against Atlanta on April 7. Francis has 24 points (9g, 15a) in the 19 games since the Olympic break. Through games of April 10, Francis was tied for fifth in the NHL in scoring (77 points), fourth in assists (50), first in power-play points (42), second in power-play assists (28), fifth in power-play goals (14) and fourth in faceoff percentage (58.9). Hurricanes forward Jeff O’Neill is currently on a six-game point streak (3/30-4/10: 5g, 2a).

CAROLINA AT HOME: 15-13-11-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 19-13-4-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 61-of-379 (16.1%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 270-of-324 (83.3%)

CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE
Defenseman Glen Wesley suffered a separated right shoulder against New Jersey (4/3) and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.

CAROLINA / FLORIDA NOTES
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers meet for the final of five games this season. The Hurricanes have won three of the teams’ four meetings this season. Carolina overcame a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 at National Car Rental Center on Dec. 8. Sami Kapanen (1g, 1a), Jeff O’Neill (1g, 1a) and Ron Francis (0g, 2a) each had multi-point nights for Carolina. Four nights later, the Hurricanes defeated the Panthers 4-1 at the ESA thanks to two goals by Bates Battaglia. The two teams tied 1-1 at the ESA on Jan. 25, and Carolina captured their final meeting in Raleigh with a 3-2 win on March 21. Battaglia (2g, 2a) and Francis (2g, 2a) lead all players in the season series with four points. Carolina leads the all-time series 16-14-9-0. Carolina is 10-8-2-0 at home and 6-6-7-0 in Florida.

FLORIDA NOTES
Stephen Weiss, who played his junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League, scored in his NHL debut on April 3 against Pittsburgh. The 19-year-old was selected fourth overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers. The Panthers have earned ties in their last three games. They complete their season on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

HURRICANES
  GP G A TP
10 Francis 80 27 50 77
24 Kapanen 77 27 42 69
92 O'Neill 76 31 33 64
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
1 Irbe 50 2.56 20-19-10 .901
80 Weekes 20 2.83 4-9-0 .914
 
FLORIDA
  GP G A TP
44 Ozolinsh 81 13 38 51
22 Huselius 77 23 22 45
18 Nilson 79 14 18 32
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
1 Luongo 58 2.77 16-33-4 .915
31 Flaherty 4 2.94 2-1-1 .919
37 Kidd 31 3.26 4-15-5 .893

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