HURRICANES (26-22-8) at THRASHERS (25-22-10)
: Carolina 4-4-2; Atlanta 3-4-3.
: This is the fourth of six meetings between the teams. Carolina won the first three matchups, although none of them were decided in 60 minutes (two have gone to overtime and one was decided in a shootout).
: Carolina did its best to earn two points in the standings Saturday night, when it rallied from a two-goal deficit in the final minute of regulation to force overtime. But Marc-Andre Bergeron scored in the extra period as the Hurricanes suffered a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"It stinks to lose in overtime, but the guys did what they could in the third period to battle back and get an important point," Carolina goalie Cam Ward
: Saturday's loss was the fifth in six games for Carolina, who are in a heated battle for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes enter Sunday's action with 60 points, the same amount as the team that will be sharing the ice with them at Philips Arena.
"Huge game for us," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "It's four in six (days), so we'll have to go to the well a little bit, but I think the magnitude of the game should help us with our energy."
: Also desperate for points, Atlanta snapped a four-game skid in dramatic fashion Friday night, when the Thrashers rallied for a pair of goals late in the third period in a 3-2 win against the New York Rangers at Philips Arena. Evander Kane scored two third-period goals, while Anthony Stewart
had a goal and an assist.
"We are a desperate hockey club," Kane said. "We got off to another good start as we have in previous games, but tonight we were able to follow it through with a full 60 minutes."
: Eric Staal
had a goal and an assist for Carolina on Saturday. It was his 27th goal of the season. … Thrashers center Nik Antropov has four points in his last six games.
: Jussi Jokinen
(leg) is out for the Hurricanes. … Thrashers center Jim Slater has missed 13 games due to a concussion, while left wing Freddy Modin is questionable with an upper-body injury.
: Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen
had two assists on Saturday, giving him 20 points in 24 games against the Lightning. … Antropov's next point will be the 400th of his career.
: "Everyone took it upon themselves to play their best hockey in the third and I was able to do that as well. You'd rather get the two points in regulation and not leave it up to chance in a shootout. For us to get the two points and not give them any is going to be huge in the standings and could pay off down the road." -- Thrashers forward Evander Kane after Friday's win against the Rangers