Nashville Predators 3, Carolina Hurricanes 0: The Kids are Alright
Great goaltending by Juuse Saros got a reward tonight.
Right out of the gate, the Nashville Predators were quick going forward and strong on defense with typical incredible goaltending by Juuse Saros.
Kiefer Sherwood blocked a shot and as the puck bounced off his shin he took the breakaway all the way down the ice, but his shot was stopped by Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen. The Hurricanes' Sebastian Aho responded with a breakaway of his own that was stopped by Saros.
Luke Evangelista sent a puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty at 6:35, giving the Canes the first power play of the game. A minute into the penalty, the Preds' Mark Jankowski took a clearing pass from newcomer Spencer Stastney and was able to score a shorthanded goal to draw first blood at 7:47.
Soon after, despite Carolina's good defensive pressure, Michael McCarron took a sharp-angled shot that found some daylight in Andersen's five hole and scored the Predators' second goal at 10:47.
Sherwood was called for hooking against Jesperi Kotkaniemi, giving the Canes another power play. The Preds' penalty kill was stellar, however, and Carolina didn't get a single shot on goal.
Carolina spent over three times as much time in their offensive zone, but ended the period down 2-0.
Nashville started the second period on a leftover power play from a late high stick from Sebastian Aho, but the Hurricanes killed it off uneventfully.
Both teams played fairly stable and consistent games for the majority of the period, but neither could open it up or organize any real scoring chances.
With just 35 seconds left in the period, Carolina's Brady Skjei shot an unexpected rocket and scored the Canes' first goal. However, after a coach's challenge from the Preds' bench, the officials ruled that there was incidental goalie contact and therefore no goal.
The young Preds continued to play with confidence and poise beyond their experience.
Tommy Novak blocked a shot with his ankle and headed to the bench to nurse it.
Carolina's Brent Burns launched a shot from behind the blue line and past an unsuspecting Saros, but the play was offside as Matt Jarvis was still in the zone and the goal was called back.
Tommy Novak poked a shot right underneath Andersen in the crease, but the puck spun in one place right on the goal line without going in. Ryan McDonagh tried to push it in the rest of the way, but couldn't quite get there, and the Canes scooped it out.
The rest of the period was a back-and-forth grind with no rash or hasty moves.
Carolina pulled their goalie with just over three minutes left, allowing Dante Fabbro to score an empty-net goal on a long-distance clear. With that, Nashville went up 3-0 for the win.
Overall, the Predators played calm, strong, and smart, and it paid off, bringing them that much closer to a possible playoff spot.