The Carolina Hurricanes are in Atlanta to take on the Thrashers tonight in another Southeast Division showdown. The Thrashers are winners of four straight games while the Canes have lost their last two. Atlanta has not played since their 5-2 thrashing of Carolina on Sunday.
The Hurricanes are coming off a tough practice yesterday and should be acting like a team with something to prove. Their fans are calling them out, their coach is fighting for his job, and the general manager of the franchise has even questioned their recent work ethic.
Will they respond?
The players are certainly saying all the right things, but can they back it up?
The previously injured Matt Cullen, Joni Pitkanen, and Brandon Sutter are all healthy and should play in their second consecutive game. Frank Kaberle, Patrick Eaves, and Justin Williams remain out.
Several Hurricanes are in the middle of some dubious "streaks". Eric Staal has gone five straight games without a point. He has only scored two goals all season, (which were not empty-netters.) Sergei Samsonov has yet to score a goal all season. (16 games). Former Selke winner Rod Brind'Amour currently has the worst plus/minus stat in the league. (-13).
The Hurricanes have only scored seven goals in their past four games, not nearly good enough for a team that relies on offense to win.
The good news for the club is that they feel comfortable playing in Philips Arena. The Canes had a 4-0 record there last year and have a lifetime record of 17-4-3-1 in the rink. Cam Ward has a career 7-1 record in Atlanta and will be between the pipes again tonight.
After Michael Leighton's showing against the Caps on Wednesday night, Carolina's goalies now have eerily similar stats.
- Ward - 4-4-2 GAA 2.86 SV% .910
- Leighton- 4-2-0 GAA 2.80 SV% .910
The puck drops at 7:30 tonight and the game will be broadcast by FS Carolinas.