Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES at ATLANTA
ATLANTA THRASHERS (27-32-6-2, 63 pts., 3rd Southeast Division)
Friday, March 5, 7:30 p.m., Philips Arena, Atlanta
ON THE AIR
Television: Fox Sports Net
Radio: WKIX 102.3 FM (Goldsboro); WKXU 101.1 FM (Raleigh); WDTF 570 AM (Raleigh); WMFD 630 AM (Wilmington); WSJS 600 AM (Winston-Salem); WNMX 106.1 FM (Charlotte)
The Carolina Hurricanes travel to Atlanta on Friday for the fourth of six 2003-04 meetings with division rival Atlanta. The Hurricanes have earned points in each of their last four road games, going 2-0-1-1 from Feb. 23 to Feb. 29 at Toronto, Washington, Montreal and Minnesota.
Forward Josef Vasicek is tied for the team lead with 34 points (16g, 18a) this season. Vasicek’s 16 goals rank first on the team, and his six power-play goals rank tied for first. Winger Justin Williams is tied with Vasicek with 34 points (10g, 24a) and leads Carolina forwards with a plus-10 rating. Right wing Jeff O’Neill ranks third with 33 points (13g, 20a) while playing in all 65 of Carolina’s games.
|March 5||Friday||Philips Arena||11:30 a.m.|
|March 6||Saturday||RBC Center||10:30 a.m.|
|March 7||Sunday||RBC Center||11 a.m.|
|March 8||Monday||Nationwide Arena||11:30 a.m.|
|March 9||Tuesday||RBC Center||11 a.m.|
|March 10||Wednesday||RBC Center||10:30 a.m.|
|March 11||Thursday||RBC Center||11 a.m.|
|March 12||Friday||RBC Center||10:30 a.m.|
|March 13||Saturday||St. Pete Times Forum||11:30 a.m.|
|March 14||Sunday||Philips Arena||noon|
|March 15||Monday||Philips Arena||11:30 a.m.|
|March 16||Tuesday||Johnny's Ice House||2:20 p.m.|
|March 17||Wednesday||United Center||11:30 a.m.|
The Hurricanes open their 14th set of back-to-back games on Friday at Atlanta. Carolina will return to the RBC Center on Saturday to face Eastern Conference rival New Jersey. The Hurricanes are currently 8-13-4-1 in back-to-back games, with a 2-8-2-1 record in the front halves of those sets and a 6-5-2-0 record in the back halves.
CAROLINA AT HOME: 11-13-8-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 9-15-5-2
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 35-of-303 (11.6%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 236-of-288 (81.9%)
CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE
Defenseman Aaron Ward, left wrist, surgery 1/21, out approx. six weeks, missed 18 games (1/21-3/2)
Winger Jaroslav Svoboda, abdominal strain, day-to-day, missed six games (2/21-3/2)
Winger Pavel Brendl, fractured collarbone, 2/23 @ TOR, expected to miss 4-6 weeks, missed four games (2/25-3/2)
CAROLINA / THRASHERS NOTES
The Hurricanes and the Thrashers meet tonight for the fourth of six regular-season match ups, and the first of three meetings in March. The teams will next meet on March 12 at the RBC Center before returning to Philips Arena on March 15 to conclude the six-game divisional series. Jeff O’Neill notched his second career hat trick on Jan. 16 to lead the Hurricanes past the Thrashers. The Hurricanes defeated the Thrashers 5-1 at the RBC Center on Nov. 13, as Erik Cole (1g, 1a) and Ron Francis (1g, 1a) led the scoring. The teams meet three more times in 2003-04 following tonight’s game: March 5 and March 15 at Philips Arena and March 12 at the RBC Center.
Last season, Atlanta scored its first two regular-season victories against the Hurricanes after Carolina posted a 12-0-3-0 record against the Thrashers in Atlanta’s first three seasons. Atlanta downed the Hurricanes for the first time on Dec. 27 in Raleigh and again March 26 in Atlanta. Carolina won two of the teams’ five matches, including one in overtime on Dec. 20 at Philips Arena. Jeff O’Neill posted six points (3g, 3a) in the five-game regular-season series to lead Carolina and Ilya Kovalchuk led Atlanta with nine points (6g, 3a). The Hurricanes are 16-3-4-0 all-time against the Thrashers, including a 9-2-1-0 home record and a 7-1-3-0 road mark.
2003-04 SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS