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After a disappointing 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay Thursday night, the Hurricanes will need to bounce back quickly against Atlanta on Saturday as they continue their November run of divisional games.
The good news is, bouncing back is something the Hurricanes have excelled at so far this season. Whenever they lose a tough game, the ‘Canes have typically taken out their frustrations on their next opponent.
For example, they followed a 7-4 loss to Montreal at home by beating the New York Islanders 8-3 on the road the very next night. After losing their first regulation game at Washington, they next trounced Toronto 7-1. After the controversial Halloween loss against the Panthers, the ‘Canes found revenge with a 4-2 win a few nights later.
Against an Atlanta team that is bouncing back after a slow start, the Hurricanes will hope to continue that trend.
”For some reason we continue to have these lapses where we allow a game to pass without playing our best hockey, but then we can’t wait to get back out there and try to redeem ourselves,” said Erik Cole.
The Thrashers, last season’s Southeast Division champs, lost their first six games of the season. That resulted in the dismissal of Coach Bob Hartley, who had been with the team since the beginning of 2003.Since then, things have started to turn around. While their poor start still has them in the conference cellar, Atlanta has won a very respectable six out of nine under General Manager Don Waddell, who is coaching the team on an interim basis.
A big part of that has been Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who has seven goals in his last three games. He left the Thrashers' last game early with a back injury, but is not expected to miss any more time.
“They’re still dangerous offensively, and Kovalchuk is obviously hot,” said Hurricanes Coach Peter Laviolette. “Any time that there’s a change it can bring in new life and new ideas, and some people can gain momentum from that. They’re playing with a little bit of confidence right now.”
Not that it made a big difference against Tampa Bay on Thursday, but the Hurricanes will again be able to rest the night before the game while their opponents will be on the second end of back-to-back games. Atlanta plays at Florida on Friday night.
Dennis Seidenberg should be back with the Hurricanes for their three-game Southeast road trip after missing the last game due to problems with his visa. The German defender had to make a quick trip to Toronto on Thursday, but has everything straightened out now.