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Nashville Predators 2, Carolina Hurricanes 3 (OT): Things get nasty

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The title speaks for itself.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators played a tough, ugly game against the Carolina Hurricanes, and nobody was surprised. What happened, who starred, and what’s the postgame vibe? All that below.

First Period

The Predators actually hung tough with the juggernaut Canes despite being quite shorthanded. Jérémy Davies looked great, Nashville played fast and heavy, and Dante Fabbro was confident and aggressive. Mathieu Olivier took a “hooking” penalty early on (it was still a penalty, but definitely wasn’t a hook), but the Preds managed to kill it off and mostly hold Carolina to the perimeter.

Nashville got a pair of power play opportunities as well, but the Preds couldn’t manage to continue their recent hot streak against an excellent Canes penalty kill. Despite looking decent enough, the Predators were outshot 15-7 in the first and lost both the CF and xGF battle.

Second Period

Things heated up in the second twenty when Matt Benning opened up the scoring just over a minute in. The Predators added on with a surprising Ryan Johansen goal to make it 2-0, with the goal being scored on a play kicked off by Dante Fabbro. Sadly, the positives would not last. Fabbro closely followed the goal with this nasty hit he’ll likely earn a suspension for:

I know Preds fans will point to the anger over this play and say “Well, what about the Nino Niederreiter hit on Juuse Saros recently?” To that, I say this: please don’t attempt to lessen the ugliness of the hit by Fabbro by comparing the two. It’s in poor taste and while the Niederreiter hit was avoidable, at least it wasn’t a flying elbow to the head.

The Preds tailed off quite a bit after Fabbro’s penalty, giving up a pair of power play goals to Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho. Luckily for Nashville, the second half of a Carolina double minor was negated by an Andrei Svechnikov hold, taking the two teams into the second intermission tied and at four-on-four.

Third Period

The Hurricanes continued to be uncharacteristically sloppy in the third, with Warren Foegele taking a penalty in the opening two minutes. The Predators couldn’t capitalize, and teams returned to five a side.

The Predators worked to keep the game from getting out of control, but spent considerable time in the defensive zone. The anticlimactic third period ended still tied up, the Canes having put eight shots on net while the Predators only recorded two shots.

Overtime

Four on four action began with a chance for the Canes to end things quickly, but a strong defensive play by Mattias Ekholm kept OT going. The Predators missed on two amazing chances by both Viktor Arvidsson and Calle Järnkrok, but Arvy’s point blank shot sailed through the blue ice, missing the net by mere inches, while Järnkrok hit the pipe and the sound of failure echoed in hearts across Smashville.

With just :34 left in overtime Jordan Staal slid the puck past Pekka Rinne to get the two points for the Hurricanes.

Three Things:

  1. Let’s hear it for the young-uns. Despite a formidable opponent, the youth movement that fans had been promised showed up tonight and represented well overall. Eeli Tolvanen, Rem Pitlick, Jérémy Davies, and Alexandre Carrier gave a glimpse of the future potential of this organization.
  2. Stop beating yourselves. Let the Canes do it. Carolina is good enough to beat this Preds roster, but instead of making the Canes earn it, the guys in gold kept committing penalties. You can’t put Carolina on the power play and expect to come out unscathed.
  3. That Fabbro hit will get a look by the Department of Player Safety. We’ll see if that moment only results in a minor penalty or something more costly.

The Predators and Hurricanes will meet again on Thursday for a rematch. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 Central time.