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Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES at PITTSBURGH

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
CAROLINA HURRICANES (26-22-11-5, 68 pts.)

AT
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (25-28-6-4, 60 pts.)
Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena

GAME NIGHT
The Carolina Hurricanes complete a stretch of eight consecutive games on the road as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena. The Hurricanes are 4-3 during the road stretch after Sean Hill’s overtime goal against Chicago gave them their third straight win. Carolina scored three third-period goals to erase a two-goal deficit and win 4-3 at Montreal on Saturday night and defeated the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins 6-2 at FleetCenter on Feb. 28. The Hurricanes’ last loss came on Feb. 26 at Toronto, 4-1. Carolina opened the current road stretch prior to the Olympic Break, defeating Anaheim and falling at Los Angeles and San Jose. Carolina does not play a home game between Feb. 5 and March 8, a span of 31 days. After Pittsburgh, Carolina returns to the Entertainment & Sports Arena to take on the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

The Hurricanes’ three-game winning streak marks the first time this season the Hurricanes have won three consecutive road games and matches the team’s season high for longest overall win streak. Carolina currently sits in first place in the Southeast Division, and leads the second-place Washington Capitals by 10 points heading into Washington’s game against Calgary on Wednesday night.

PRACTICE TIMES

March 7 Thursday Mellon Arena 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
March 8 Friday ESA 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
March 9 Saturday ESA 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
March 10 Sunday ESA 12 noon - 2 p.m.
March 11 Monday ESA 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
March 12 Tuesday RecZone 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
March 13 Wednesday ESA 3 - 5 p.m.

ON THE AIR
Television: none
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
The Hurricanes acquired goaltender Kevin Weekes from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Shane Willis and Chris Dingman late Tuesday night. Weekes, 26, has played in 158 career NHL games over five seasons with the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Toronto native has accumulated a record of 39-82-13 with a goals against average of 3.24 and eight shutouts in his NHL career. Weekes (6’0’’, 195 lbs.) played in 19 games with Tampa Bay this season and had a record of 3-9-0 with a 2.89 goals against average, a save percentage of .915 and two shutouts. A second-round draft choice of the Florida Panthers in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Weekes appeared in a career-high 61 games last season for Tampa Bay, posting a 20-33-3 record with a 3.14 goals against average and four shutouts. He has spent much of this season serving as backup to All-Star netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 12-11-7-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 15-11-4-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 45-of-307 (14.7%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 219-of-265 (82.6%)

CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE
Forward Tommy Westlund missed the game at Chicago (3/5) with a back injury. He was placed on Injured Reserve on Feb. 9 retroactive to Jan. 18.

CAROLINA / PITTSBURGH NOTES
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins meet for the final of four matchups this season. Carolina leads the season series 1-0-2 after earning a 3-3 tie against the Penguins on Feb. 5 at the Entertainment & Sports Arena. The two teams played to a 2-2 draw on Nov. 6 in Raleigh on a late goal by Jeff O’Neill and Carolina crushed Pittsburgh 7-0 on Dec. 16 at Mellon Arena as Tom Barrasso faced just 11 shots in the shutout. Rod Brind’Amour leads all players with a goal and four assists in three games. Ron Francis and O’Neill each have two goals. Carolina has outshot Pittsburgh 122-65 in the teams’ three games this season, including 40-14 in the third period. The Hurricanes won last year’s season series 3-1-0. The Hurricanes franchise is 34-41-10-0 all-time against Pittsburgh, including a 19-20-5-0 record at home and a 15-21-5-0 record on the road.

PITTSBURGH NOTES
Penguins’ owner/captain Mario Lemieux will miss the remainder of the 2001-02 season due to a hip injury. The Penguins won their second-straight game on Tuesday, as Alexei Kovalev found the net in overtime to give Pittsburgh a 6-5 win against Florida. The Penguins are five points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

HURRICANES
  GP G A TP
10 Francis 65 19 40 59
24 Kapanen 62 23 31 54
92 O'Neill 61 24 27 51
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
35 Barrasso 34 2.61 13-12-5 .906
1 Irbe 36 2.83 14-15-6 .894
 
PITTSBURGH
  GP G A TP
27 Kovalev 50 25 30 55
20 Lang 61 18 32 50
38 Hrdina 61 18 23 41
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
1 Hedberg 51 2.70 22-24-5 .908
30 Aubin 15 3.19 3-8-1 .889

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