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Hurricanes to see a lot of Atlanta in next few weeks

RALEIGH (AP) -- The Carolina Hurricanes are two points behind the Atlanta Thrashers and the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL Eastern Conference playoff race.

Carolina is also two points behind the Lightning and the Thrashers for first place in the Southeast Division. The next few weeks will likely settle things for the postseason.

The Hurricanes face the Thrashers tonight at the RBC Center, the first of three meetings between the two teams in the next 13 days. If the 'Canes win tonight and Tampa Bay loses, the three teams would be in a tie for first, although the Lightning hold the tiebreaker because they've played one fewer game.

Home ice hasn't been much of an advantage for the Hurricanes lately. They are 1-3-1 in the past five home games and have been outscored 17-7.

On the other hand, Atlanta has lost four in a row and is 1-6-1 in its past eight games.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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