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Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES vs. ATLANTA THRASHERS

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
CAROLINA HURRICANES (16-13-4-4, 40 pts.)

vs.
ATLANTA THRASHERS (7-21-4-2, 20 pts.)
Friday, Dec. 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Entertainment & Sports Arena

GAME NIGHT:
The Carolina Hurricanes complete a two-game homestand as they host the Southeast Division rival Atlanta Thrashers. The Hurricanes dropped the first game of the homestand on Tuesday, falling 5-1 to the Ottawa Senators at the Entertainment & Sports Arena. The Hurricanes had earned nine out of a possible 10 points in the five games prior to Tuesday’s contest. Following Friday’s game against Atlanta, the team will travel to Philadelphia to play the Flyers in their final game before the Holiday break. Carolina is 4-5-0-1 in back-to-back games this season, including a 1-4-0-0 record in the first game and a 3-1-0-1 record in the second game.

PRACTICE TIMES: (all times local)
Dec. 21ESA10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Dec. 22First Union Ctr.11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Dec. 23ESA10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

ON THE AIR:
Television: none
Radio: 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); WSJS 600-AM (Winston-Salem). Internet: www.nhl.com

CAROLINA NOTES:
Hurricanes forward Rod Brind’Amour has 11 points (4g, 7a) in his last eight games, including six points (2g, 4a) in the last two games. Brind’Amour is now fourth on the team in scoring with 25 points (10g, 15a). He is third on the team in goals (10) and tied for third in assists (15). Brind’Amour leads all Carolina forwards in ice time per game (21:42) and faceoff percentage (min 20 faceoffs) at 58%.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 9-7-2-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 7-7-2-1
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 22-of-181 (12.2%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 131-of-164 (79.9%)

CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE:
Left winger Chris Dingman missed the Hurricanes game vs. Ottawa (12/18) with a left knee injury.

CAROLINA / ATLANTA SERIES:
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Atlanta Thrashers meet tonight for the third of five matchups this season. Carolina won the two teams’ first two meetings this season, knocking off Atlanta in the Thrashers’ home opener at Philips Arena 5-2 on Oct. 13 and beating Atlanta 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 20 in Raleigh. Jeff O’Neill has five points (2g, 3a) against the Thrashers this season, including the game-winner in overtime on Oct. 20. The Hurricanes won the regular season series last season against the Thrashers with a record of 4-0-1. Carolina was 2-0-1 at Philips Arena and 2-0 at home against Atlanta. Shane Willis notched his first career hat trick on Feb. 21 in a 6-3 win against the Thrashers in Raleigh. Carolina clinched a spot in the 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-2 against Atlanta at the Entertainment & Sports Arena on April 6. The Hurricanes are unbeaten against Atlanta in the regular season, holding a 11-0-1 advantage over the third-year franchise.

ATLANTA THRASHERS NOTES:
The top two rookie scorers in the NHL visit Raleigh on Friday as Atlanta’s Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk suit up at the Entertainment & Sports Arena. Heatley is tops among all rookies in points (29) and assists (17). Kovalchuk is tied for the rookie lead in goals with 14.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

HURRICANES GPGATP
24 Kapanen 34171734
92 O’Neill36171431
10 Francis3682331

GOALIESGPGAAW-L-TSV%
35 Barrasso222.349-9-3.918
1 Irbe163.147-8-1.887

ATLANTAGPGATP
15 Heatley34121729
17 Kovalchuk33141327
12 Hrkac3371118

GOALIESGPGAAW-L-TSV%
33 Hnilicka243.426-14-3.907
1 Rhodes123.821-8-1.888

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