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Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES vs. WASHINGTON

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
CAROLINA HURRICANES (27-22-11-5, 70 pts.)*

vs
WASHINGTON CAPITALS (26-28-9-1, 62 pts.)
Friday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Entertainment & Sports Arena
*all stats through games of March 6

GAME NIGHT
The Carolina Hurricanes play their first home game in 31 days as they host the Southeast Division rival Washington Capitals in the first game of a two-game homestand. Carolina has not played a game at the Entertainment & Sports Arena since Feb. 5, a 3-3 tie against Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes complete a stretch of eight consecutive games on the road on Thursday night against the Penguins at Mellon Arena. The Hurricanes carried a three-game winning streak into Thursday’s game.

Carolina currently sits in first place in the Southeast Division, and led the second-place Washington Capitals by eight points heading into Thursday night’s game. The Hurricanes are in the midst of their 13th of 15 sets of back-to-back games this season. Carolina is 10-9-3-2 in back-to-back games this season, with a 3-6-3-0 record in the first game and a 7-3-0-2 record in the second game.

PRACTICE TIMES

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.
March 14 Thursday RecZone 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

ON THE AIR
Television: none
Radio: none
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 will miss the game at Pittsburgh (3/7) with a back injury. He was placed on Injured Reserve on Feb. 9 retroactive to Jan. 18.

CAROLINA / WASHINGTON NOTES
The Capitals and the Hurricanes meet for the final of five matchups this season. Carolina took the first meeting between the teams 3-2 on Nov. 8 thanks to three straight third-period goals. Jeff O’Neill scored the game-winner while Sami Kapanen scored twice and assisted on the game winner. The Capitals won the next two matchups, sweeping a home-and-home series with a 6-2 win at MCI Center on Nov. 30 and a 4-3 come-from-behind overtime victory on Dec. 2 in Raleigh. The two teams played to a 5-5 tie in their most recent meeting on Dec. 30 at MCI Center. Kapanen leads all Hurricanes scorers with seven points (2g, 5a) against Washington this season. Washington and Carolina split the season series last year 2-2-1. The Hurricanes are 27-45-12-0 all-time against the Capitals, including a 13-25-4-0 record in Washington and a 14-19-8-1 mark at home.

WASHINGTON NOTES
Capitals’ defenseman Sergei Gonchar fired home the game-winner with 2:04 left in the third period to give Washington a 3-2 victory against Calgary on Wednesday. The win pulled the Caps within eight points of the first-place Hurricanes in the Southeast Division race and within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With the goal, Gonchar extended his point streak to eight games. Capitals’ center Adam Oates is currently on a nine-game assist streak.

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
 
WASHINGTON
  GP G A TP
77 Oates 61 11 52 63
68 Jagr 51 23 36 59
12 Bondra 59 29 22 51
55 Gonchar 63 21 30 51
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
37 Kolzig 56 2.88 22-25-6 .902
1 Billington 14 3.04 4-4-3 .881

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