Final OT

Series (Game 3 of 6)

Carolina leads 5-1

Game 1: Thursday, December 16th
Game 2: Sunday, January 9th
Game 3: Saturday, February 5th
Game 4: Sunday, February 13th
Game 5: Wednesday, March 9th
Game 6: Friday, April 8th

Jets 3

(24-21-10, 58 pts)

Hurricanes 4

(26-21-6, 58 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 5, 2011

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 OT T
WPG 1 0 2 03
CAR 0 1 2 14

E. Cole (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

B. Sutter (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Tlusty (Hurricanes - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Thrashers-Hurricanes Preview


Despite their poor play over the last six-plus weeks, the Atlanta Thrashers still hold one of the Eastern Conference's top eight spots. That could change Saturday night.

The Thrashers will try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the Carolina Hurricanes as this Southeast Division rivalry continues in Raleigh.

Since a 12-2-2 stretch Nov. 19-Dec. 20 moved it atop the division, Atlanta (24-21-9) has gone 5-10-4 to drop to eighth in the East, one point ahead of Carolina (25-21-6) for the final playoff spot.

An ineffective offense has been a major cause of the freefall. The Thrashers have been outscored 15-5 in their past four games and scored two or fewer goals in each of their last six.

"Earlier in the year we were winning close games and finding a way to get that done, and now we're finding a way to make that key turnover," coach Craig Ramsay, whose team is 1 for 17 on the power play over the last eight games, told the Thrashers' official website following Thursday's 4-2 loss to Calgary.

"But the effort was there. It was a much better effort."

The Thrashers, losers of six of nine on the road, will be trying to snap a three-game skid to the Hurricanes, who will leapfrog Atlanta in the standings with a regulation victory.

Carolina had a chance to move in front of the Thrashers on Thursday, but the Hurricanes lost 3-0 at Toronto.

Carolina was 0 for 3 on the power play, missing a 5-on-3 opportunity in the second period and also having a breakaway by Chad LaRose stopped later in that frame.

"That would have cut it to 2-1 and we're feeling better going into the third period," captain Eric Staal said. "But it was too late for us to get it going."

The Hurricanes' special teams need to get going. Carolina is 1 for 11 with the man advantage over the last three games, and it has scored twice while losing two straight. Like Atlanta, the Hurricanes have struggled since late December, dropping six of 10 since a 6-0-2 surge.

"Both teams have been coming back to earth from their start," coach Paul Maurice told the Hurricanes' official website. "I think we felt we were getting better and stronger and have stumbled here a little bit. It will be a very emotional game, it will be a very physical game, and I think it's going to be a very fast game."

In the teams' last matchup Jan. 9, Erik Cole scored 2:09 into overtime to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 victory that snapped a three-game home losing streak in this series.

Ondrej Pavelec, who turned away 30 shots in that matchup, is 2-5-3 with a 3.15 goals-against average in his last 10 starts. He is 0-2-1 with a 3.98 GAA in his last three versus the Hurricanes.

Carolina's Cam Ward has won the last three times he's faced the Thrashers, with each of the matchups at Philips Arena. He stopped 45 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory Dec. 16.

Justin Peters turned away 25 shots in last month's win versus the Thrashers.

Carolina has won five of six in this matchup and will face Atlanta on Feb. 13 as part of a five-game trip that starts Tuesday.