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The Carolina Hurricanes wrap up a two-game home stand on Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network). The Hurricanes returned from the NHL All-Star break on Tuesday and scored a 3-1 win at the RBC Center against the New York Rangers. Following Thursday’s game, the Hurricanes will practice at the RecZone on Friday before traveling to Pittsburgh for a Saturday evening meeting with the Penguins at Mellon Arena.
Broadcast Notes: FSN South resumes its coverage of live Carolina Hurricanes games on Thursday as the Hurricanes host the Toronto Maple Leafs at the RBC Center. All Hurricanes games on FSN South are preceded by the 30-minute pregame show Hurricanes Live, hosted and anchored by Hurricanes play-by-play man John Forslund, and featuring interviews and commentary from color analyst Tripp Tracy. The Hurricanes and FSN South announced a new, multi-year contract on Monday, which will take the minimum number of locally televised Hurricanes games from 55 to 65 beginning in 2008-09.
Throughout the season, Mike Maniscalco of the Hurricanes’ new radio flagship 99.9 FM The Fan, will host a 30-minute pre-game show and a one-hour call-in post-game show surrounding Hurricanes radio broadcasts. As always, Hall of Fame play-by-play man Chuck Kaiton will call all of the in-game action for all games on the Hurricanes Radio Network.
Captain Rod Brind’Amour is two points shy of 400 Hurricanes points
Center Eric Staal is two games shy of his 300th NHL/Hurricanes game
Goaltender Cam Ward has started five consecutive games (1/17-1/29: 3-2-0) and played in nine consecutive games (1/8-1/29: 4-5-0)
Defenseman Mike Commodore has points in three straight games (1/21-1/29: 2g, 1a)
Left wing Ray Whitney has points and assists in three straight games (1/21-1/29: 0g, 3a)
Television: FSN South (TWCable Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville Ch. 50; Dish Network Ch. 444; DirecTV Ch. 633)
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WCMC 99.9 FM The Fan (Raleigh – flagship), Pirate Radio – WGHB 1250 AM and WDLX 930 AM (Greenville, NC), Talk Radio WEEB 990 AM (Southern Pines, NC), WWNB 1490 AM (New Bern, NC)
Internet: www.nhl.com, www.CarolinaHurricanes.com
The Hurricanes complete a post All-Star break two-game home stand on Thursday, and will then take to the road on Saturday at Pittsburgh for the first game of a five-game road swing. The Hurricanes have played 53 games thus far this season, and are tied for the most road games played in the NHL (28). The Hurricanes play 16 of their remaining 29 games at the RBC Center.
The Hurricanes’ power play has yielded one goal in five of the team’s last six games, going 5-for-26 (19.2%) in that span. Meanwhile, Carolina’s penalty kill, while ranked 30th in the NHL at 77.0 percent, has allowed just one power-play goal in the team’s last four games, going 13-for-14 (92.9%) since Jan. 18.
The Hurricanes have won three of their last four games, scoring wins against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 18, New York Islanders on Jan. 21, and the New York Rangers on Jan. 29. Carolina has not won four of five games since Games 2-6 of this season, when the Hurricanes beat Pittsburgh on Oct. 5, lost to Washington on Oct. 6 and then scored three straight wins at Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, Oct. 9-13.
Carolina left wing Sergei Samsonov netted his first goal with the Hurricanes on Jan. 15 in Toronto, added his second against Edmonton on Jan. 18 and lit the lamp for a third time this year on Tuesday against the Rangers. The Moscow native now has eight points (3g, 5a) in nine games with the Hurricanes since being acquired on re-entry waivers on Jan. 8. His three-point game against the Maple Leafs was his first multi-point effort since Feb. 22, 2007, when he had a goal and an assist for the Montreal at Nashville. Samsonov had just four assists in his 23 games with Chicago to start this season.
Neither the Hurricanes or the Maple Leafs have scored a shutout win against the other since Kevin Weekes scored a 2-0 shutout win for Carolina at Air Canada Centre on Jan. 27, 2004. The last time Toronto scored a shutout win against the Hurricanes was Nov. 8, 2000, when Curtis Joseph made 27 saves in a 5-0 Maple Leafs win at Air Canada Centre.
AGAINST THE MAPLE LEAFS
Thursday marks the fourth and final regular-season meeting between the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs this season. Carolina won the teams’ first two contests, scoring a 7-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre on Oct. 9 and a 3-2 comeback overtime win in Raleigh on Dec. 18. Toronto took the teams’ most recent meeting, winning 5-4 at the Air Canada Centre on Jan. 15.
Toronto won last year’s season series 3-1-0, taking both games at the RBC Center. Tomas Kaberle led Toronto with five points (1g, 4a) in the four game series, while Eric Staal paced the Hurricanes with five points (2g, 3a). The Hurricanes franchise posts a 41-30-12-1 all-time record against the Maple Leafs, including a 21-14-6-1 home record and a 20-16-6 record in Toronto.