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
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
“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.