CAROLINA HURRICANES (33-34-10-0, 76 pts)
BUFFALO SABRES (32-34-10-3, 77 pts)
Friday, March 31, 2000 at 7:00 p.m.
GAME NIGHT: The Carolina Hurricanes travel to Buffalo on Friday night for a critical matchup in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt…Carolina is currently in third place in the Southeast Division and is 10th in the Eastern Conference with 76 points…The Hurricanes are one point behind the Buffalo Sabres for the ninth slot and trail the Montreal Canadiens by two points for the eighth and final playoff spot…The Hurricanes are 3-2-0 in their last five games and 4-5-1 in their last 10 after defeating the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Wednesday night… Among one of six teams aiming to claim the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, the Carolina Hurricanes have five games remaining on their 1999-2000 regular season schedule…Carolina has two games remaining at home and three games on the road…Of their remaining schedule, four games will be against teams with below .500 records…Including Friday’s game against Buffalo, Carolina is 7-5-0 this season against their remaining opponents.
ON THE AIR:
Local Television: Home Team Sports (HTS), FOX Sports Net South
Radio: WRBZ-850 AM (Raleigh), WFAI-1230 AM (Fayetteville), WGHB 1250 AM (Greenville), WSML-1200 AM (Graham), WRMT-1490 AM (Rocky Mount), WJNC-1240 AM (Jacksonville), WRNS-960 AM (Kinston), WTRP-620 AM (La Grange, GA), WEEB-990 AM (Southern Pines), WRQR-106.7 FM (Wilmington), WSJS-600 AM (Winston-Salem), WDLZ- 98.3 FM (Murfreesboro).
CAROLINA/BUFFALO SERIES: The Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres conclude their 1999-2000 four-game series on Friday at the HSBC Arena…Buffalo leads the 1999-2000 series 2-1-0 and the overall series 72-49-17 after posting a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday…Gary Roberts (4g, 0a), Sami Kapanen (3g, 1a), and Ron Francis (1g, 3a) lead the Hurricanes offensively with four points each against Buffalo this season…Arturs Irbe is 1-1-0 in two games against Buffalo with a 3.86 goals against average and a .855 save percentage…Carolina has totaled five power-play goals (5-for-14, 35.7%) in the season series and is 7-for-8 (87.5%) on the penalty kill.
CAROLINA NOTES: On Wednesday night against the Nashville Predators at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, Arturs Irbe matched a career high with his 30th win of the season as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Nashville Predators 3-1…Marek Malik opened the scoring at the 2:57 mark of the first, banking a shot from behind the red line off of goalie Mike Dunham’s right skate…Ron Francis made it 2-0 at the 10:50 mark of the first period with his 23rd goal of the season…Andrei Kovalenko iced the game with his 15th goal of the season at the 14:28 mark of the third period…The win enabled the Hurricanes to remain in playoff contention, just two points behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot… Entering Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe ranks first among all goaltenders this season in games (70), third in minutes (4,046) and sixth in wins (30)…Over his last 28 games, Irbe is 16-10-2 with a 2.23 goals against average (1,697 min, 63 ga)…Irbe, in his second season with the Hurricanes, ranks second in team history in goals against average (2.35), fifth in wins (57) and in minutes played (7,689)…Irbe currently ranks third on the team’s all-time shutout list, trailing Mike Liut (13), and Sean Burke (11)…On Wednesday, Marek Malik scored the 38th goal by a Hurricanes’ defenseman this season after the team received a total of 15 all of last year from their blueliners…CAROLINA AT HOME: 18-16-5 CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 15-18-5 CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 17.2% (9th NHL) CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 83.5% (15th NHL).
BUFFALO NOTES: The Buffalo Sabres trail the Montreal Canadiens by one point for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference…Buffalo is currently in fourth place in the Northeast Division and has won their last four games…The Sabres have been idle since defeating the Hurricanes 5-1 on the road on Monday night…Following Friday’s game, the Sabres visit the eight-place Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night…BUFFALO AT HOME: 20-13-5 BUFFALO ON THE ROAD: 12-21-5 BUFFALO ON THE POWER PLAY: 10.9% (28th NHL) BUFFALO SHORTHANDED: 84.3% (13th NHL).
CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE:
Sami Kapanen did not play in the Hurricanes’ last game due to post-concussion syndrome…He is day-to-day…Curtis Leschyshyn is day-to-day with a groin injury after missing the Hurricanes’ last six games.