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Hurricanes aim to keep pace in East, down Thrashers

Carolina (32-26-5) at Atlanta (22-34-6) 7:00 p.m. EST

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The Carolina Hurricanes would be well served

to take care of the teams below them in the standings as they

chase a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Saturday's meeting with the Atlanta Thrashers is a perfect

example as the Hurricanes look to take the season series and win

for the fifth time in their last six games overall.

Carolina currently sits tied for eighth place with Buffalo at 69

points courtesy of Thursday's 2-1 shootout win over the Sabres.

Anton Babchuk scored in the third period to tie the game, Jussi

Jokinen netted the lone goal in the bonus format and Cam Ward

stopped 36 shots while improving his shootout record to 2-2 on

the season by not allowing a goal.

The Hurricanes are 15-7 this season against teams not currently

in playoff position and have six games remaining against such

competition.

After winning the first two contests against its Southeast

Division rival, Atlanta has lost three straight to Carolina and

will look to salvage a split of the season series.

The Thrashers have lost three of four overall (1-2-1) and are

coming off a 4-3 loss at Washington on Thursday.

Todd White and captain Ilya Kovalchuk each recorded a goal and

an assist but Atlanta, which owns the NHL's worst penalty kill

at 74.5 percent, allowed three power-play goals in the loss.

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