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Hurricanes-Bruins Preview

GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (37-12-4) at Boston Bruins (23-23-8).

TIME: Sunday, 1 p.m. EST.

Two teams looking for some offense meet for the second time this season as the league-leading Carolina Hurricanes continue a four-game road trip against the Boston Bruins.

Carolina is looking for its fourth straight win and ninth in 11 games at TD Banknorth Garden. Since the start of the 1996-97 season, the Hurricanes franchise has recorded 13 wins, three losses and two ties in Boston.

On Friday, the Hurricanes watched as the New Jersey Devils retired future Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens' No. 4. Carolina then fired 28 shots at Martin Brodeur in a 3-0 loss.

"It was an emotional night for them," Carolina center Doug Weight said. "Retirement or not, it would have been a big game the way New Jersey is playing. I think they have something to prove to the league after getting off to a tough start."

Weight, who made his Hurricanes debut after being acquired last week from the St. Louis Blues, had two shots on goal and was minus-2. He has eight goals and 15 assists in 22 career games against Boston.

Backup goalie Cam Ward got the start against the Devils and finished with just 18 saves, meaning Swiss Olympic selection Martin Gerber will likely face the Bruins.

Gerber is 9-1-0 with a 2.72 goals-against average in his last 10 starts.

Carolina, which tied an NHL record with 13 wins in January, has not dropped back-to-back road games aince Dec. 26-28, when it lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators.

The shutout was just the second against the Hurricanes this season. The other was a 9-0 rout Nov. 12 against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Boston also is coming off a shutout after losing 2-0 Saturday to the Montreal Canadiens for a split of its home-and-home series.

Tim Thomas made 27 saves while losing in regulation for just the second time in 11 straight starts. Thomas has appeared in 13 straight games with Boston since being recalled Jan. 10 from Providence of the AHL.

"I thought the goaltending on both sides was terrific," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "Obviously their guy was really good for them. I thought he had some really timely saves throughout the course of the game and I thought Timmy made some big stops for us."

Boston has been blanked four times this season - all since Dec. 17.

The loss to the Canadiens ended rookie center Brad Boyes' eight-game points streak in which he had five goals and eight assists.

Boyes had a goal and two assists the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss Oct. 26 to Carolina.

STANDINGS: Hurricanes - 78 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Bruins - 54 points, 4th place (tied), 21 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Eric Staal, 33 goals, 36 assists and 69 points; Mike Commodore, 86 PIM. Bruins - Patrice Bergeron and Sergei Samsonov, 17 goals; Bergeron, 29 assists and 46 points; Hal Gill, 72 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Hurricanes - Power play: 19.8 percent (70 for 354), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (238 for 291), 18th. Bruins - Power play: 15.4 percent (45 for 293), 24th. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (270 for 321), 9th.

GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Gerber (26-8-2, 3 SO, 2.69 GAA); Ward (11-4-2, 0, 3.41). Bruins - Thomas (7-2-2, 1, 1.79); Andrew Raycroft (7-16-2, 0, 3.68).

SEASON SERIES: Hurricanes, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 26; Hurricanes, 4-3. At Raleigh, N.C., Erik Cole's goal midway through the third period tied the score and Matt Cullen scored 3:24 into overtime to lift Carolina.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hurricanes - 14-8-3 on the road; Bruins - 11-10-4 at home.

Associated Press
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