Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES vs. TAMPA BAY

Tuesday, 12.17.2002 / 1:17 PM / News
Carolina Hurricanes
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Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES vs. TAMPA BAY

CAROLINA HURRICANES (13-12-4-3, 33 pts.)
vs.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (15-10-3-3, 36 pts.)
Wednesday, December 18 at 7:00 p.m. at RBC Center



GAME NIGHT

The defending Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes return home to face Southeast Division rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning at RBC Center. Carolina lost to Minnesota 2-1 on Sunday night at Xcel Energy Center. Carolina completed four consecutive sets of back-to-back games. The Hurricanes are 8-6-0-0 in back-to-back games with a 5-2-0-0 record in the front half and a 3-4-0-0 record in the back half of back-to-back games. Carolina plays a total of 19 sets of back-to-back games this season. Carolina has lost just nine times in regulation in its last 27 games. All but 11 of the Hurricanes' last 27 opponents participated in the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carolina captain Ron Francis scored a goal at Minnesota and has now tallied 10 points (5g, 5a) in his last 10 games. Second-year forward Erik Cole has 14 points (9g, 5a) in the last 14 games. The BBC line of Rod Brind’Amour, Bates Battaglia, and Cole continues to drive the Hurricanes’ offense with 31 points (15g, 16a) in 14 games.
The Hurricanes pre-game skate will take place at the RecZone at 10:30 rather than at RBC Center due to NC State’s graduation.

PRACTICE TIMES

Dec. 18 Wednesday RecZone 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 19 Thursday RBC Center TBA
Dec. 20 Friday Phillips Arena 11:30 a.m.
Dec. 21 Saturday RecZone 11:45 a.m.
Dec. 23 Monday RBC Center TBA
Dec. 24 Tuesday RBC Center TBA

ON THE AIR
Television: None
Radio: WKIX 102.3 FM (Goldsboro); WKXU 101.1 FM (Raleigh); WDTF 570-AM (Raleigh); WMFD 630-AM (Wilmington); WDLZ 98.3-FM (Murfreesboro); WSJS 600-AM (Winston-Salem); WRUP 97.9-FM (New Bern/Morehead City); WSTK 910-AM (Jacksonville); WNMX 106.1 (Charlotte); WCNC 1240-AM (Elizabeth City); WZBO 1260-AM (Edenton)
Internet: www.nhl.com

CAROLINA NOTES
Carolina sits just three points behind Southeast Division-leading Tampa Bay heading into tonight’s matchup. The Hurricanes ranked second in the league in faceoff percentage through games of Dec. 15. Carolina has won 1191-of-2176 (54.7%) faceoffs through 32 games this season. Kevyn Adams and Rod Brind’Amour are tied for 10th in the league in that category. Adams has won 224-of-395 (56.7%) of his faceoffs this season and Brind’Amour has won 468-of-826 (56.7%) of his faceoffs this season.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 7-4-4-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 6-8-0-1
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 35-of-188 (18.6%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 154-of-180 (85.6%)

CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE
Kevin Weekes missed the game at Minnesota (12/15) due to a concussion. He was placed on Injured Reserve on Nov. 29. Bret Hedican missed the game at Minnesota (12/15) due to a concussion. He is day-to-day. Josef Vasicek missed the game at Minnesota (12/15) with a back injury. He is day-to-day.

CAROLINA / TAMPA BAY NOTES
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning meet tonight for the third of five games this season. The Lightning and Hurricanes will meet once more in Tampa and once more in Raleigh during the 2002-03 season. The Lightning won the two teams’ first matchup this season 5-1 at the St. Pete Times Forum on Oct. 12. Tampa Bay won the rematch in Raleigh, 2-1 in overtime on Nov. 17.
The Hurricanes won the regular season series last season against the Lightning with a 3-2-0 record. Carolina was 1-1-0 at home against Tampa Bay, falling to the Lightning 4-0 on Nov. 25, 2001 and defeating Tampa Bay 4-2 on April 10, 2002 to clinch the Southeast Division title. The Hurricanes were 2-1-0 in Tampa, earning wins on Dec. 27 (3-2) and Jan. 30 (3-1) and falling 2-0 on Nov. 17. Carolina is 23-14-5-0 all-time against the Lightning, with a 15-3-3-0 record at home and an 8-11-3-0 record in Tampa.

LIGHTNING NOTES
The Lightning defeated the New York Islanders 4-3 at St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday Dec. 14 before heading to Raleigh. Center Brad Richards extended his point streak to seven-games (2g, 8a) with an assist on Cory Sarich’s goal in the first period Saturday night. Netminder Nikolai Khabibulin is tied for second in the league in wins with 15. Tampa will be without defenseman Jassen Cullimore until March due to a torn rotator cuff.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

HURRICANES
GP G A TP
17 Brind'Amour 32 11 15 26
92 O'Neill 32 9 16 25
10 Francis 32 13 10 23
26 Cole 32 11 9 20
20 Hlavac 28 6 9 15
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
1 Irbe 14 3.08 5-8-0 .887
80 Weekes 20 2.07 8-6-4 .931
LIGHTNING
GP G A TP
26 St. Louis 31 17 15 32
20 Prospal 31 7 23 30
19 Richards 31 5 25 30
4 Lecavalier 29 14 15 29
Goalies GP GAA W-L-T SV%
1 Konstantinov 1 3.00 0-0-0 .833
30 Hodson 3 2.38 0-1-1 .902
35 Khabibulin 29 2.70 15-12-2 .905
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