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REVIEW: HURRICANES 4, Atlanta Thrashers 3

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

ATLANTA (AP) -- Gary Roberts had two goals and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday.

Carolina must win at home against Atlanta on Sunday and hope that Montreal and Buffalo each lose their final game. Montreal played Ottawa on Saturday night, and Buffalo will finish the regular season Sunday at Washington.

Roberts opened the scoring 24 seconds into the first period, knocking in his own rebound shot from the side of the crease. He added his 23rd goal of the season on a power play with 6:54 left in the second period to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.

Carolina went up 4-2 when Sami Kapanen took Ron Francis' pass from the far right side of the goal line and fired the puck to the glove side of goalie Damian Rhodes at 10:23 of the second period.

Following Kapanen's 24th goal and Francis' team-leading 49th assist, Rhodes was replaced by Norm Maracle. Rhodes, who stopped nine of 13 shots, dropped to 5-18-3. Maracle stopped all 14 shots he faced.

Carolina's Arturs Irbe, who stopped 13 shots in the third period, made two saves in the last minute as he faced six Atlanta skaters -- Dean Sylvester's wrist shot from the center of the slot and Mike Stapleton's slap shot from the top of the left circle.

Playing in his NHL-high 74th game, Irbe made 26 saves to improve to 33-28-9.

David Tanabe gave Carolina a 2-0 lead at 11:07 of the first with a wrist shot to Rhodes' stick side.

Summary

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Carolina 2 2 0--4

Atlanta 1 2 0--3

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FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Carolina, Roberts 22 (Francis, Kapanen),0:24. 2, Carolina, Tanabe 4 (T Westlund, J Daniels), 11:07. 3, Atlanta,Audette 18 (Kaberle, Guolla), 17:12.

SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 4, Atlanta, Brunette 23 (Stapleton, Ferraro),2:26. 5, Carolina, Roberts 23 (power play) (Coffey, Kapanen), 6:54. 6,Carolina, Kapanen 24 (Francis, Roberts), 9:37. 7, Atlanta, Kaberle 1(shorthanded) (unassisted), 10:52. Penalties: Roberts, Car (boarding),0:23; Vyshedkevich, Atl (holding), 5:47; Galanov, Atl (cross checking),9:46.

THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: None. Penalties: Kovalenko, Car (tripping),2:16.

Shots on goal:

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Carolina 7 13 7--27

Atlanta 8 8 13--29

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Power-play Conversions: Car - 1 of 2, Atl - 0 of 2. Goalies: Carolina,Irbe (29 shots, 26 saves; record: 33-28-9). Atlanta, Rhodes (13, 9;record: 5-18-3), N Maracle (9:37 of 2nd period, 14, 14). A:18,612. Referees: Fraser, Watson. Linesmen: Broseker, Nowak.

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