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PREVIEW: HURRICANES at New Jersey Devils

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes


The Carolina Hurricanes enters tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils after losing consecutive games to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Florida Panthers…Carolina is 2-2-1 in its last five games and is 4-5-1 in its last 10 games…Following tonight’s game, the Hurricanes conclude their three-game road trip, facing the New York Rangers on Tuesday, January 18 and then begin a five-game homestand against the New York Rangers on Thursday, January 20.


The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils meet for the second of four games this season…New Jersey leads the 1999-2000 season series, 1-0-0 after defeating the Hurricanes in the team’s debut at the Entertainment and Sports Arena on October 29, 1999…Carolina trails the overall series 27-33-10, including a 13-19-3 record in New Jersey…The Hurricanes have lost their last two games in New Jersey, last defeating the Devils on the road on April 1, 1998 in a 1-0 shutout…The two teams square off next at the Entertainment and Sports Arena on January 28.


October 29, 1999 vs. New Jersey Devils

Devils 4, HURRICANES 2

The Carolina Hurricanes played their first home game in the city of Raleigh at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, resulting in a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Andrei Kovalenko recorded his third point over the last four games, scoring the first goal at the state-of-the-art facility to give Carolina a 1-0 lead in the second period. New Jersey responded with three goals in a 3:08 span of the third period to take a 3-1 lead. Bates Battaglia extended his points streak to three games by re-directing a Nolan Pratt shot from inside the blueline to close the gap to 3-2 at 8:38 of the third period. The Devils added an empty net score with four seconds remaining to hand the Hurricanes their first home loss of the season.


Sean Hill has missed the Hurricanes’ last 10 games due to a groin injury…He will be out for one week.


Carolina is 8-10-5 on the road this season after losing 5-1 to the Florida Panthers on January 14…The Hurricanes have scored 63 goals on the road this season while allowing 63…Last season the Hurricanes compiled a 14-18-9 record on the road, scoring 100 goals while allowing 109 goals.Best on the road this season: Ron Francis has 26 points (7g, 19a) in 22 road games, Sami Kapanen has 21 points (12g, 9a) in 23 road games, Jeff O’Neill has 17 points (6g, 11a) in 22 road games, and Bates Battaglia has 15 points (5g, 10a) in 23 road games.


The Hurricanes are 1-0-8 in overtime during the 1999-2000 regular season…Carolina is unbeaten in its last 13 overtime games (1-0-12) dating back to March 21, 1999 in a 3-2 loss at Dallas…Carolina skated to a 4-4 tie against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the team’s last overtime game on January 7…The Hurricanes’ overtime victory this season was against the Florida Panthers on December 26, 1999…Last season, the Hurricanes posted a 1-5-18 mark in overtime.


Carolina is 31-for-174 (17.8%) on the power-play…The Hurricanes were 1-for-5 on the power-play in their last game against the Panthers (1/14)…The Hurricanes have scored 20 goals on the power-play over their last 23 games (20-for-85, 23.5 %)…Carolina posted a five-game streak in which the team has scored a power-play goal from 12/7-12/18, matching a season-high, set earlier this season from 11/24-12/2 (7-21, 33.3%)…Against St. Louis (12/7), Carolina matched a season-high in power-play goals with a 3-for-5 effort…The team had previously scored three power-play goals against the New York Islanders (3-for-7) on October 30.

Sean Hill (4g, 10a), Ron Francis (3g, 10a), Jeff O’Neill (3g, 9a), Paul Coffey (3g, 9a), Sami Kapanen (5g, 5a), Gary Roberts (3g, 3a), Andrei Kovalenko (2g, 3a), Glen Wesley (1g, 4a), David Tanabe (3g, 0a), Robert Kron (2g, 1a) and Bates Battaglia (2g, 1a) lead the power-play units for the Hurricanes…Carolina’s power-play is 12-for-79 (15.2%) at home and 19-for-95 (20.0%) on the road…Carolina has allowed four shorthanded goals this season after Anaheim’s Marty McInnis scored on January 7.

The Hurricanes own a 107-for-129 (82.9%) rating on the penalty kill this season…At home, the team is 53-for-58 (91.4%) on the penalty-kill, ranking second in the league, and 54-for-71 (76.1%) on the road…Tommy Westlund scored the team’s first short-handed goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on December 26.


The Carolina Hurricanes lead the league with the fewest penalties (369 minutes) and penalty minutes per game (8.4)…Against the New York Islanders on November 10th, the Carolina Hurricanes did not commit a penalty in the entire game…It marked the first time in franchise history that the club did not commit a penalty at home and only the second time overall…The last time the team did not commit a penalty in an entire game was when the Hartford Whalers accomplished the feat on January 26, 1980 in a game on the road, also against the New York Islanders.


The Hurricanes will play 17 sets of back to back games this season…During the 1999-2000 season, Carolina is 7-8-3 in back to back games with a 3-4-2 record in the first game and a 4-4-1 record in the second game…Last season the team played 17 sets of back-to-back games, posting a 7-7-3 record in the first game and a 6-6-5 in the second game.


The National Hockey League announced on January 12th that Carolina Hurricanes forward Sami Kapanen was named to the World All-Star Team roster that will face-off against the North America All-Stars in the 50th NHL All-Star Game presented by Nortel Networks on Sunday, February 6 at the Air Canada Center in Toronto. The roster additions were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department, after consultation with League General Managers.

Kapanen, 26, will make his first All-Star appearance in his NHL career. Kapanen earned a bronze medal while playing for Team Finland during the 1998 Winter Olympics. Drafted with the team’s fourth pick in the fourth round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft (87th overall), Kapanen has totaled 29 points (16g, 13a) for the Hurricanes this season. Kapanen leads the team in goals (16), power-play goals (5), and multi-point games (9) and ranks third in points (29). He is one of only four Hurricanes to play in every game this season and has not missed a game since October 25, 1998, a span of 118 consecutive games. On January 2, 2000, Kapanen won the team’s Fastest Skater event during the FedEx/NHL Superskills Contest with a time of 13.716 seconds, the third-fastest time so far this season.


Hurricanes’ forward Gary Roberts scored in the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 11, giving him 300 for his career and making him one of six players to join the 300 goal/2,000 minute club (Dale Hunter, Rick Tocchet, Pat Verbeek, Mike Foligno, and Kevin Dineen).Roberts, in his third season with the Hurricanes after being acquired from the Calgary Flames on August 26, 1997, tallied a season-high nine-game points streak (3g, 7a) from 12/23 to 1/11…Over his last 21 games, the Ontario native has totaled 19 points (6g, 13a).


Prior to the Hurricanes’ home game against the New York Rangers on January 9, Hurricanes defenseman Paul Coffey was honored as the team’s Big Sky Beef Player of the Month as voted by the fans for the month of December. During the month, Coffey tallied seven points (1g, 6a) in 12 games and became the first defenseman in league history to reach 1,500 points when he recorded a power-play assist in Ottawa on December 23.

This season, Paul Coffey is second among all Hurricanes defensemen in points (20), goals (4), and assists (16) despite playing in only 31 games this season…Coffey has totaled 19 points (4g, 15a) over his last 24 games and ranks fourth on the team in ice time (20:47).


Hurricanes center Jeff O’Neill is second on the team in goals (14), points (35), and assists (21) through 42 games this season…Since missing two games (11/24-11/26) due to a back injury, O’Neill has totaled 23 points (8g, 15a) in 21 games…O’Neill has surpassed his career-high in assists already this season and is on pace to shatter his career-highs in goals (19), and points (39) all accomplished for the Hurricanes during the 1997-98 season.

Drafted with the club’s fifth pick in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, O’Neill, 23, has matched his career-high with four points in a game twice this season: (2g, 2a) on November 30 against the Calgary Flames and (1g, 3a) on October 30 against the New York Islanders and notched a three-point game (2g, 1a) against the St. Louis Blues on December 7.


On January 9 against the New York Rangers, Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe recorded 30 saves to earn his 22nd career NHL shutout…The shutout marked his ninth with the Hurricanes after establishing a franchise record six shutouts during the 1998-99 season…Irbe currently ranks third on the team’s all-time shutout list, trailing Mike Liut (13), and Sean Burke (11).


Entering tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils, Hurricanes teammates Ron Francis and Paul Coffey rank seventh and eighth, respectively, on the NHL’s all-time points list…As of January 16, 2000, Francis also ranked tied for fourth all-time in assists with Mark Messier…On November 11, 1999, Francis moved past Gordie Howe for fifth all-time in assists and on November 5, 1999, became the sixth player to reach 1,500 points.Coffey, in his second stint with the organization, ranks second only to Wayne Gretzky in career assists in league history and is the all-time leading scorer among NHL defensemen…Coffey surpassed Mario Lemieux for eighth on the all-time points list with two assists against the Calgary Flames on November 30, 1999…On December 23, Coffey became the first defenseman in league history to tally 1,500 points when he registered an assist on Kapanen’s power-play goal.


Entering this season, only five players in NHL history had recorded 1,500 points in their career…For the first time in league history, three players (Ron Francis and Paul Coffey of the Carolina Hurricanes and Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings) reached the 1,500 point plateau in the same season…It also marks the first time that teammates have accomplished the feat in the same season…Paul Coffey is the first defenseman to total 1,500 points in National Hockey League history.


Hurricanes captain Ron Francis registered 592 assists and 822 points in 758 games during the 1990s…The Hurricanes’ all-time leading scorer ranked third in assists, sixth in games played, and tied for ninth in points among all NHL players in the last decade.


The Carolina Hurricanes defensive corps has scored 21 goals after Paul Coffey scored against Florida on January 14 … Last season, the Carolina Hurricanes received a total of 15 goals from the blueline, seven of which came from Glen Wesley.Sean Hill leads all Hurricanes’ defensemen with six goals, Glen Wesley and Paul Coffey rank second with four goals each, while David Tanabe is third with three goals…Marek Malik, and Nolan Pratt have each scored twice…Coffey ranks second in points among defensemen with 20 (4g, 16a) and Wesley ranks third with 15 (4g, 11a).


Hurricanes forwards Robert Kron and Paul Ranheim have the two longest current tenures of any player on the team’s roster. Kron ranks fifth on the team’s all-time games played list (471), after surpassing Ulf Samuelsson (463) on December 28…Kron has a chance to move up to the fourth spot in franchise history this season (Dave Tippett-483)…Acquired from the Vancouver Canucks on March 22, 1993, Kron is ninth on the team’s all-time goals list with 101.Ranheim ranks among the franchise leaders in short-handed goals after being acquired from the Calgary Flames on March 10, 1994 and is only four games shy of 400 with the team.


In addition to the Hurricanes’ Sami Kapanen being named to the 2000 World All-Star team, Carolina had five other players within the organization selected to participate in their respective league All-Star games.

On January 12, forwards Jeff Heerema and Josef Vasicek were invited to participate in the 2000 OHL All-Star Game. Both players will play for Team West at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga on January 25, 2000. Heerema, the Hurricanes’ first round pick in 1998, registered 41 points (21g, 20a) in 40 games for the Sarnia Sting. The Thunder Bay, Ontario native has recorded 30+ goals in each of his previous two years with the Sting. Vasicek, who represented the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championships earlier this month, has notched 36 points (12g, 24a) in 28 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Vasicek was selected by the Hurricanes with the 91st pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and signed to a contract on July 15, 1999.

Also on January 12, Jaroslav Svoboda was named to play in the 2000 Shaw-WHL All-Star Classic that will be held in Kelowna on January 19. Svoboda, who played with Vasicek for the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championships, was chosen with the Hurricanes’ eighth pick (208th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. The six-foot-one, right wing has totaled 36 points (12g, 24a) in 31 games for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.

On December 29, Shane Willis and Gilbert Dionne of the Cincinnati Cyclones were selected to participate in the 2000 IHL All-Star Game scheduled on January 17 in Houston. Willis, selected by the Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, will make his first appearance in the IHL All-Star Game during his first season in the league. Last year, in his first full season in professional hockey, Willis was voted into the starting lineup of the 1999 American Hockey League All-Star Game and tallied one assist. Dionne, who signed a free agent contract with the Hurricanes in August, earned MVP honors after setting five records during last season’s IHL All-Star Game. Both players rank among the league leaders in goals and points.


Ron Francis is four goals shy (296) of 300 with the franchise.

Paul Ranheim is four games shy (396) of 400 with the franchise.

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