Hurricanes-Thrashers Preview

The Atlanta Thrashers have been playing well at home. That

wasn’t the case last season against the Carolina Hurricanes.

With each team playing one night after a game in Florida, the

Thrashers look to take over the Southeast Division lead on Thursday


Atlanta (17-11-4) averaged 3.7 goals per game during a recent

six-game winning streak at Philips Arena – one short of the longest

home win streak in franchise history. The run ended with a 4-2 loss

to Colorado on Friday.

Home ice was no advantage in this series last season as the

visiting team won all six meetings. The Thrashers got outscored

13-3 in their three home games versus the Hurricanes (13-12-4), who

have won 11 of their last 14 in Atlanta.

Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Thrashers are

returning home for two games following a 2-0-1 trip that ended with

Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout loss to Tampa Bay.

Atlanta had won 10 of its previous 12.

“We’re pleased we only gave up a goal, but our goal is to

score,” coach Craig Ramsay said after his team went 0 for 5 on the

power play. “We had some opportunities and we didn’t cash them in.

When you’re presented with some chances to score, you’ve got to get

it done.”

The Thrashers, tied with the Lightning for second in the

division, can pass idle Washington for the Southeast lead if they

can overcome the Hurricanes at home.

Carolina’s last visit to Philips Arena was a 4-1 victory March

29, when Cam Ward returned from a back injury and made 26


Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice will likely give the start to

backup Justin Peters on Thursday after Ward was pulled 1:42 into

Wednesday’s 4-3 victory at Florida after giving up two goals on

five shots.

“It’s not his fault, but I hold him to a higher standard,”

Maurice said of Ward.

Peters was impressive in relief, turning away 21 of 22 shots to

earn his first victory since March 20 at Pittsburgh.

“Obviously, it wasn’t the start we were looking for but it

showed a lot of resilience, a lot of character,” Peters said after

Tuomu Ruutu’s two third-period goals helped the Hurricanes rally

from a 3-0 first-period deficit. “You never know what to expect.

I’m sitting there, and next thing you know you’re in the net.

Sometimes when you don’t see it coming it’s the best way.”

Peters has never faced Atlanta.

Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who made 30 saves through

overtime on Wednesday, is 0-3-0 with a 4.39 GAA in three home

starts versus Carolina.

He will try to limit the production from Hurricanes captain Eric

Staal, who had three goals and four assists versus Atlanta last


Thrashers captain Andrew Ladd, Staal’s teammate on the

Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup championship team, has gone a

season-high three straight games without recording a point.

Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen scored twice in the March 29

victory in Atlanta. He has six goals and three assists in his last

five games versus the Thrashers.