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Birds Without Wings - Hurricanes 7 Thrashers 1

The picture above pretty much summarizes the season for the Atlanta Thrashers. The frustration continued last night in Raleigh as the Carolina Hurricanes routed the "Dirty Birds", 7-1.

The Canes scored early and scored often, with Eric Staal leading the way with a goal just 42 seconds into the game. The Canes would never look back as they tied a franchise record by scoring 5 powerplay goals in the chippy contest.

Jeff Hamilton scored twice as did Tuomo Ruutu. Joe Corvo and Trevor Letowski each added a tally of their own. Letowski's goal was short-handed, as he took advantage of a perfect pass from Chad LaRose on an odd man rush.

Staal had another 3 point game and Cam Ward got the job done in net by making 25 saves on 26 shots.

There were 115 total minutes in penalties assessed, including four 10 minute majors and two game misconducts. The game misconducts came after Joe Corvo hit Eric Boulton hard along the boards with just about a minute left in the game. This precipitated retaliation by Boris Valibik who got an instigator as he jumped Corvo from behind. Nic Wallin got his misconduct for being 3rd man in as he came to Corvo's aide.

There was similar chippy play like this all night long, but it was good to see the Hurricanes defending each other and looking like a true team.

The Thrashers scored their meaningless lone goal on a short-handed play as Corvo turned the puck over in his own end. No one expects Joe to be perfect and I think the Canes can live with an occasional gaffe as long as the point production is there, which it certainly has been for the active blueliner.

There is no rest for the weary as the Canes jumped on a charter right after the game and flew to Tampa Bay for another contest tonight. With a win and a Washington loss in Sunrise, Florida, the Canes could clinch the Southeast Division title.

The lineup should remain pretty much the same except that Dennis Seidenberg will fill in for Bret Hedican, who re-injured himself again last night. Hedican did not make the trip to Florida. Perhaps Tim Conboy will fill in for Joe Jensen so that there can be another option on defense.

If Peter Laviolette is feeling brave, he could give Cam Ward a rest tonight and start John Grahame against his old mates. I think that we will see Ward again tonight though.

Game time is at 7:30 and it will be broadcast locally on FSN and will also be in HD.

David Gray