Pre-Game Skate: HURRICANES vs. ATLANTA
CAROLINA HURRICANES (15-12-5-3, 38 pts.)
ATLANTA THRASHERS (8-20-1-4, 21 pts.)
Friday, December 27 at 7 p.m. at RBC Center
Carolina captain Ron Francis assisted on Jeff O’Neill’s game-winner in the third period of Sunday’s game against Dallas and now has 14 points (6g, 8a) in his last 13 games. With the assist, Francis became the second player in NHL history after Wayne Gretzky to tally 1,200 career assists. Second-year forward Erik Cole has 15 points (9g, 6a) in the last 17 games.
|Dec. 27||Friday||RBC Center||10:30 a.m.|
|Dec. 28||Saturday||Nassau Coliseum||11:30 a.m.|
|Dec. 29||Sunday||RecZone||11:45 a.m.|
|Dec. 30||Monday||RBC Center||TBA|
ON THE AIR
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)
Carolina is tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division after blanking the Dallas Stars 1-0 Sunday night. Netminder Kevin Weekes earned his 10th career shutout and second consecutive victory after missing eight games due to a concussion. The Hurricanes enter their eighth of 19 sets of back-to-back games this season. After hosting Atlanta tonight, Carolina will travel to New York to face the Islanders on Saturday, Dec. 28.
CAROLINA AT HOME: 8-4-5-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 7-8-0-1
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 36-of-198 (18.2%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 161-of-188 (85.6%)
CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE
Bret Hedican missed the game vs. Dallas (12/22) due to a concussion. He is day-to-day.
CAROLINA / ATLANTA NOTES
Carolina and Atlanta meet tonight for the third of five matchups during the 2002-03 regular season and the second of two games at home. The Hurricanes won the first game in Raleigh 5-3 on Oct. 11 as Rod Brind’Amour, Erik Cole, and Josef Vasicek each notched a goal and an assist. Carolina defeated the Thrashers 3-2 in overtime on Dec. 20 on Aaron Ward’s OT game-winner.
The Hurricanes won the regular season series against the Thrashers last season 3-0-2, with four of the five games extending into the overtime period. Jeff O’Neill led all goal scorers in the season series (3) and was tied for the lead in points in the series with Rod Brind’Amour (2g, 4a). O’Neill scored an overtime game-winner against Atlanta on Dec. 20 in Raleigh. Erik Cole earned his first career hat trick against the Thrashers when he tallied the overtime winner on Dec. 21 for a 5-4 victory. The Hurricanes are 14-0-3 against the Thrashers in the all-time regular season series.
The Thrashers fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 on Monday Dec. 23 at Air Canada Centre before the holiday break. Second year winger, Ilya Kovalchuk leads Atlanta in goal scoring this season and is tied for sixth in the league in that category through games of Dec. 23. Kovalchuk has netted 18 goals thus far. The Thrashers are still without leading scorer and 2002 Calder Trophy Winner Dany Heatley who has been sidelined with a groin strain.
SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS