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The defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes picked up some help to try and defend their title.

Newly acquired right wing Anson Carter is expected to join the injury-plagued Hurricanes when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.

The Hurricanes (31-25-7) acquired Carter from Columbus on Friday for a 2008 draft pick. Carter, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, gives Carolina another offensive threat to help make up for left wingers Cory Stillman and Erik Cole.

Stillman, who's played in just 24 games this season, is on injured reserve with a knee injury, and Cole - one of Carolina's five 20-goal scorers - will miss at least two weeks after injuring his hip Tuesday.

"Anson is a veteran NHL player who has had some good goal-scoring years in his career," general manager Jim Rutherford said. "He will help strengthen our forward corps at a much needed time."

Carter has 10 goals this season after notching a career-best 33 last season for Vancouver. Carolina will be the eighth team Carter will play for in his 10-year career.

More importantly, the Hurricanes did not have to trade one of their 10 defensemen to get him, leaving open the possibility of another deal before Tuesday's trade deadline.

"We didn't use the assets that we have made available in respect to the fact that we have extra defensemen," Rutherford said. "I don't have anything that I'm looking at right now, but at the same time the fact that we have those assets, if something falls to us Monday or Tuesday, we have to look at it."

The defending champs are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference - one point behind Montreal but only one ahead of the New York Islanders.

Carolina has been inconsistent recently, alternating wins and losses in its last seven games including Thursday's 3-2 overtime victory over Philadelphia. Glen Wesley scored a short-handed goal 16 seconds into overtime for his first tally since Feb. 5, 2006.

"We faced adversity, we faced injury - we faced a lot of things this year, and hopefully this is something that we can look back at in a positive way and know that this could be a stepping stone for us," Wesley said, "and hopefully build on this game and continue to peck away and climb the ladder in the standings."

Rod Brind'Amour scored in the first period to reach the 20-goal mark for the 12th time.

Carolina is 3-1-1 against the Thrashers (31-22-10) this season.

Atlanta is coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday that dropped the Thrashers a point behind the first-place Lightning in the Southeast Division standings.

Goalie Johan Hedberg started for the second straight game after stopping 33 shots against the Hurricanes to help Atlanta end a four-game losing streak. he may get the start again in place of Kari Lehtonen, who is 1-2-1 with a 4.35 goals-against average against the Hurricanes this season.

Marian Hossa, Atlanta's leading scorer with 35 goals and 78 points, has a power-play and short-handed tally against Carolina this season.

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