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Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES vs. FLORIDA

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
CAROLINA HURRICANES (28-23-14-5, 75 pts.)

vs
FLORIDA PANTHERS (19-37-7-5, 50 pts.)*
Monday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Entertainment & Sports Arena
*Statistics through games of March 19

GAME NIGHT
The Carolina Hurricanes finish a two-game homestand with Thursday’s game against Southeast Division foe Florida at the Entertainment & Sports Arena. Carolina tied the Montreal Canadiens 1-1 at the ESA on March 18 and is winless in its last four games (0-1-3).
Ron Francis and Sami Kapanen are in the midst of five-game point streaks. Francis has five goals and three assists in his last five games, while Kapanen has two goals and five assists in that time.
Carolina has earned ties in its last seven home games, an NHL record. Carolina is winless in its last nine home games (0-1-8) and has not won at home since Jan. 15, a 2-0 win against Minnesota. Carolina currently sits in first place in the Southeast Division, leading the second-place Washington Capitals by eight points. Both teams have played 70 games. The Hurricanes have been on top of the division since Oct. 20, 2001.

PRACTICE TIMES

March 21 Thursday ESA 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
March 22 Friday RecZone 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
March 23 Saturday Continental Airlines Arena, N.J. 8 - 9 a.m.
March 24 Sunday RecZone 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
March 25 Monday RecZone 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 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
Francis was tied for fifth in the NHL this season in assists (43) and fifth in points (67) through games of March 19. He was first in power play points (35), second in power play assists (24) and tied for sixth in power-play goals (11). He is Carolina’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy, which honors perseverance and dedication to the game of hockey. He is also a candidate for the Lady Byng Trophy, which goes to the player who exhibits sportsmanship.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 12-11-10-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 16-12-4-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 50-of-330 (15.2%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 240-of-291 (82.5%)

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

CAROLINA / FLORIDA NOTES
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers meet for the fourth of five games this season, and the third of three games between the teams at the Entertainment & Sports Arena. The Hurricanes won the teams’ first two meetings this season, overcoming 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 breezed past 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 will complete their season series at the National Car Rental Center on April 12. Battaglia’s two goals lead all players, while Rod Brind’Amour, David Tanabe and Glen Wesley are all (+3) against the Panthers this season. Carolina leads the all-time series 15-14-9-0. Carolina is 9-8-2-0 at home and 6-6-7-0 in Florida.

FLORIDA NOTES
The Panthers made a host of moves this week leading up to the trade deadline, with the biggest being trading Pavel Bure to the New York Rangers on Monday. Florida played host to Montreal Wednesday night. Former Carolina defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh went into the Montreal game as Florida’s leading scorer with 42 points (10g, 32a). Former Hurricanes prospect Byron Ritchie has scored his first three NHL goals in his first 17 games with the Panthers.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

HURRICANES
  GP G A TP
10 Francis 70 24 43 67
24 Kapanen 67 25 36 61
92 O'Neill 66 25 31 56
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
1 Irbe 41 2.71 15-16-9 .897
80 Weekes 19 2.89 3-9-0 .915
 
FLORIDA
  GP G A TP
44 Ozolinsh 69 10 32 42
22 Huselius 65 19 20 39
18 Nilson 67 13 14 27
25 Kozlov 50 9 18 27
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
1 Luongo 57 2.76 16-33-4 .916
37 Kidd 23 2.48 3-9-3 .880

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