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Hurricanes hope to keep surging vs. Flames

by Brian Hunter /

FLAMES (18-20-4) at HURRICANES (20-15-6)


Last 10:
Calgary 4-5-1; Carolina 5-3-2

Season series: This is the only meeting between these teams on the 2010-11 schedule. Calgary won last season’s lone matchup, on Feb. 3, 2010, as Curtis Glencross recorded his first career hat trick in a 4-1 victory on home ice. Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves.

Big story: The Hurricanes will be looking to an extend a 5-0-2 run that has drawn them to within three points of the Canadiens for eighth in the Eastern Conference. They're also just five points behind the Southeast Division rival Thrashers after a 4-3 overtime win against Atlanta on Sunday.

Team Scope:

Flames: Consistent at least in its inconsistency, Calgary's last 10 games have consisted of a pair of three-game losing streaks sandwiched around four straight wins. This is the start of a four-game road trip in which the Flames will try to make up some ground in the West. They last played on Friday, letting a two-goal lead slip away in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Red Wings. Glencross scored twice and added an assist in a losing effort.

"(A 4-2 lead) should be (safe), but you're playing against a good team," he told the Calgary Herald. "Their goalie made a few key saves, but we played a pretty good game overall, and we deserved two points out of that."

Hurricanes: Three of Carolina's last four games have been decided in overtime, and while the Hurricanes had to settle for a single point in games against the Panthers and Rangers, they came out on the right side of the final result against the Thrashers thanks to Erik Cole. He scored 2:09 into overtime, making up for a play earlier in the game where he had a goal wiped out and drew an interference penalty.

"Ever since Dec. 1 we've been playing pretty good," forward Brandon Sutter said. "Now we're halfway through and we've got a bit of a lead on a couple of teams that are ahead of us in games played. We've just got to keep winning."

Who's hot: Tim Jackman of the Flames had 3 goals and 3 assists during a five-game points streak that was snapped against the Red Wings. ... Jeff Skinner has 5 goals in as many games for the Hurricanes. Cole has 3 goals in the last two games. Tuomo Ruutu has 3 goals and 10 assists over his last eight games. Eric Staal has 2 goals and 3 assists during a five-game points streak.

Injury report: Calgary forward Alex Tanguay is day-to-day with flu-like symptoms. Forwards Daymond Langkow (neck) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion) and defenseman Steve Staios (upper body) are on injured reserve. Forward Tom Kostopoulos is starting a six-game suspension for a hit on Brad Stuart that left the Detroit defenseman with a broken jaw.

Carolina expects to get Jussi Jokinen back from an upper-body injury that cost him six games. Goalie Cam Ward, who dressed for the last two games but did not play while nursing a lower-body injury, is also expected to be ready to go. Forward Ryan Carter (upper body) is day-to-day, while forward Jiri Tlusty (arm) is on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk had 1 goal and 2 assists against the Red Wings for his first multi-point game since he was acquired from the Hurricanes. ... Staal and Sutter each won 66.7 percent of their faceoffs against the Thrashers, season-highs for both players.

Puck drop: Kostopoulos was traded with Babchuk to Calgary on Nov. 17 in exchange for Ian White and Brett Sutter. His suspension costs him a chance to be in the lineup against his former team, and the veteran grinder disputed the length of his punishment.

"I'm extremely disappointed in the League's ruling as I believe I have not done anything illegal," Kostopoulos said. "I'm sorry that Brad was hurt on the play and I hope he returns to play soon, but it was never my intention to injure him and I definitely did not target the head. I maintain that I delivered a legal check to an opponent playing the puck. While I am upset with the League's decision, I will serve the suspension in preparation for my return to the lineup to help my team."

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