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GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (24-30-13-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (19-37-9-6).

TIME: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

If the Carolina Hurricanes had played this well on the road earlier this season, making the playoffs would be much closer to their grasp.

With points in eight straight road games, the Hurricanes continue a five-game trip against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.

A 1-0 overtime loss at Atlanta on Monday gave Carolina at least a point in its eighth consecutive road game (5-0-1-2).

"Both teams did a lot of good things," said Carolina's Kevin Weekes, who made 23 saves. "Tonight was a 0-0 game and an entertaining game. It was fun to play in."

Before this current stretch, the Hurricanes were 7-15-4-1 away from Raleigh this season.

Despite gaining points in 11 of their last 14 games overall, the Hurricanes are barely alive in the playoff race. They are 12th in the Eastern Conference - six points behind ninth-place Buffalo.

Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican missed the third period Monday with an undisclosed injury and may not play Wednesday.

Carolina is 4-0-1 against Chicago since a 2-1 loss on April 3, 1999.

Chicago, already eliminated from playoff contention, has been playing the role of spoiler for months.

The Blackhawks were shut out for the seventh time this season on Sunday, 4-0 by Ron Tugnutt and Dallas.

Rookie Adam Munro was shaky in his fourth career start, allowing four goals on 31 shots.

"I didn't have a good game tonight," Munro said. "The first and third were two really bad goals. The bottom line is I have to stop those in a low-scoring league like this."

Chicago has one win in its last nine games (1-5-2-1).

STANDINGS (through March 15): Hurricanes - 66 points, 4th place, 29 PB, Southeast Division. Blackhawks - 53 points, 4th place, 43 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Erik Cole and Josef Vasicek, 16 goals; Justin Williams, 26 assists; Cole and Williams, 37 points; Jesse Boulerice, 118 PIM. Blackhawks - Kyle Calder, 21 goals; Tyler Arnason, 29 assists and 46 points; Travis Moen, 120 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 15): Hurricanes - Power play: 11.1 percent (38 for 341), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.2 percent (259 for 315), 22nd. Blackhawks - Power play: 14.6 percent (46 for 314), 25th. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (280 for 330), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Weekes (22-26-10, 6 SO, 2.21 GAA); Arturs Irbe (2-1-1, 1.97). Blackhawks - Michael Leighton (5-17-6, 2, 3.07); Munro (1-2-1, 3.19).

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: 0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 26, 2002; Tied, 3-3. At Raleigh, N.C., Boris Mironov's goal with 12:28 left in regulation lifted Chicago into the tie. Weekes made 40 saves for the Hurricanes.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hurricanes - 12-15-5-3 on the road; Blackhawks - 12-13-5-5 at home.

Associated Press
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