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Thrashers-Hurricanes Preview

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Thrashers-Hurricanes Preview

GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (9-12-2) at Carolina Hurricanes (15-6-1).

TIME: Sunday, 5 p.m. EST.

With their season-high three-game losing streak behind them, the Carolina Hurricanes will now to try wipe out the memory of their most lopsided loss since moving from Hartford in 1997.

Carolina meets the Atlanta Thrashers at the RBC Center in the start of a home-and-home series. The teams will meet again Tuesday night at Atlanta's Philips Arena.

On Nov. 12, Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice, linemate Marc Savard had four assists in Atlanta's 9-0 drubbing of Carolina.

Led by Koavlchuk, the Thrashers scored five goals in an 11:12 span of the first period against goaltenders Martin Gerber and Cam Ward.

"It's not the goalies," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said after the game. "It was the team. We lost tonight. Let's leave it at that."

Carolina is coming off its second shootout win of the season as Radim Vrbata and Matt Cullen scored to lift the Hurricanes to a 4-3 win Saturday over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Carolina had given up 14 goals during its losing streak, the most they have allowed in any three-game stretch this season.

"Losing the way we were was not acceptable," Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour said.

Atlanta also is looking for consecutive wins after a three-game skid. Savard had two goals and two assists in a 7-4 win Saturday over the Florida Panthers.

"We keep working hard like we did tonight, stick with the game for 60 minutes and we are going to be successful," Savard said. "We are staying positive and offensively there are no limits to this team."

Savard, a 1995 draft pick of the New York Rangers, has 44 goals and 89 assists in 125 games since being acquired by Atlanta on Nov. 15, 2002 from the Calgary Flames for a prospect. He has a goal and 13 assists in 14 games against Carolina.

The Thrashers have taken two straight from the Hurricanes by a combined 10-0 score.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 26): Thrashers - 20 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Southeast Division. Hurricanes - 31 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Kovalchuk, 15 goals; Savard, 25 assists and 34 points; Andy Sutton and Eric Boulton, 50 PIM. Hurricanes - Eric Staal, 16 goals, 18 assists and 34 points; Jesse Boulerice, 45 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 26): Thrashers - Power play: 21.4 percent (38 for 177), 6th. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent (124 for 157), 28th. Hurricanes - Power play: 18.1 percent (26 for 143), 14th. Penalty killing: 79 percent (98 for 124), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Garnett (2-3-0, 0 SO, 4.73 GAA); Adam Berkhoel (2-4-0, 0, 4.08). Hurricanes - Gerber (10-4-0, 2, 2.33); Ward (5-2-1, 0, 3.75).

SEASON SERIES: Thrashers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 12; Thrashers, 9-0. At Raleigh, N.C., goaltenders Mike Dunham and Berkhoel combined for 19 saves in the shutout.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 4-6-2 on the road; Hurricanes - 9-3-0 at home.


Associated Press
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