Notes for the Thursday, February 21, 2008, game between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina:
The Thrashers were off since their 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday, in which they were outshot 49-10, a franchise record for fewest shots.Atlanta's offense remained sluggish in the first period of the game against the Hurricanes with only five shots on goal. Carolina had 21. But the Atlanta offense revved up in the second period, outshooting Carolina 16-15. The Hurricanes outshot the Thrashers 46-28 for the game.
Despite an active first half on offense, Carolina did not score due to the defense of Thrashers goalie, Kari Lehtonen, who's been Atlanta's saving grace this season. Including the 46 shots from this game, Lehtonen has faced 136 shots in his last three starts, and 294 in his last eight starts.
Carolina scored three goals in the second period and two goals in the third, putting them atop the NHL in third period goals scored this season, at 77.
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Red-hot Hurricanes left wing Ray Whitney scored early in the second period, his 25th of the season. Eric Staal earned the assist. Whitney has seven points in the past four games he has played -- he missed Monday's loss at the New Jersey Devils with a groin injury -- after scoring one goal and assisting on the other in Carolina's comeback with 63 seconds to play Tuesday. He leads the Hurricanes with 57 points.
Hurricanes RW Scott Walker was the offensive leader with one goal and two assists.
Both teams' big stars were relatively quiet. This year's All-Star game MVP Eric Staal earned one assist for Carolina. Staal has seven points in his last five games. He needs one goal for his third career 30-goal season. Atlanta star Marian Hossa did little to boost his stock, earning a second-period assist, though he remains the hottest commodity on the trading block heading into Tuesday's deadline. Hossa now has 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) in 59 games.
Atlanta's leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuck, who is second in the NHL with 40 goals, added two assists to his season total, taking him to 29.
Before this loss, the Thrashers had won five straight at the RBC Center, including 5-4 in overtime on Jan. 2 when they had just 14 shots on goal.
This game starts a five-game home stand for Carolina. The Hurricanes will play 12 of their final 19 games of the season at the RBC Center.
-- Following Ray Whitney's goal to open the second period, Thrasher center Eric Perrin countered quickly with his 11th goal of the season.
-- Hurricanes left wing Ryan Bayda answered with a goal, his second of the season.
-- Hurricanes LW Sergei Samsonov scored his seventh goal of the season.
-- Thrashers right wing Mark Recchi scored his eleventh goal of the season assisted by Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa.
-- Hurricanes RW Scott Walker opened up the third period with his seventh goal of the season, followed quickly by the fourth goal of the season by Carolina RW Keith Aucoin.
-- Thrasher center Todd White finished up the game with a late goal; his 14th of the season.
Attendence at the RBC Center was 13,548, according to the Hurricanes.