A tough battle went back and forth all afternoon. Requiring a shootout to close things out, the Nashville Predators’ win streak ends.
Winning is never easy. Putting a streak of wins together even more difficult. And, like all things, streaks must come to an end. It took a hard-fought game, but the Nashville Predators fell in defeat. It took a shootout, but the Carolina Hurricanes skated away victorious.
How it all played out
Before the game started, the Predators announced Juuse Saros would start, giving Pekka Rinne a day off. For most of the game, Saros held up against the onslaught of shots from an aggressive Hurricanes’ team. Just over three and a half minutes into the game, Josh Jooris finds space behind the Predators’ defense and scores on a breakaway. It was the only goal they would score in the first period on 15 shots.
As for the Nashville Predators, it took some time. However, a play from Saros found its way to Mattias Ekholm. A precise pass down ice to Viktor Arvidsson was all it took. A quick move by Arvidsson left defenders in his wake, and he scored the Predators’ first goal. It took everyone by surprise.
The second period saw the first penalties of the game called. While the Predators were able to kill off a penalty by Ryan Johansen, the Hurricanes were not as lucky. After Justin Williams was called for interference, Mattias Ekholm notched his fourth power play goal on the season. Roman Josi and Kyle Turris were credited with the assists.
The lead did not last long, though. A minute and five seconds later, Victor Rask tied the game with his fourth goal on the season. The period ended tied yet again. It would be the theme of the day.
Third and goal
The Predators were out-shot 21 to 26 in the first two periods, but would find plenty of opportunities in the third. Yet, it was Justin Williams and the Hurricanes that found the net first. Even though it looked as if the puck was played with a high stick and there was contact with Saros, the goal was not reviewed, giving the Hurricanes the lead.
Action up and down the ice continued for the remainder of regulation. A flurry of activity in front of Carolina’s goal was shutdown. It was the 11 minute and 15 second mark in which the Predators tied the game again. Craig Smith was in the right place at the right time, and notched his eight goal of the season. The match moved into overtime.
A delayed penalty call on Carolina allowed the Predators to send in an extra attacker. With a 4v3 advantage, Nashville took few chances. No one scored, and a shoot out was required.
This is where Carolina took over. Saros made a great glove save on the first shot, but the next two found space. No shot from Turris or Forsberg made the net. The Hurricanes won the shootout and game, 4-3.
Predators Stars of the Game
#1 – Mattias Ekholm: Ekholm continued his hot streak with a goal and an assist. He now has 10 points in his last 10 games. The defenseman also blocked three shots.
#2 – Craig Smith: With his eight goal of the year, Smith is third on the team in finding the back of the net. His hustle led to a hit, two blocks, and three takeaways.
#3 – Juuse Saros: I have to give him credit. The team put him in some bad situations, but he stood up to the task most of the game. He saved 33 of 36 shots saved in regulation and overtime. Plus, he added an assist on Arvidsson’s goal.
The Nashville Predators return to Bridgestone to face their rival Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Chicago is trying to find their way this season, and are tied with Dallas and Minnesota at 25 points. Both teams have won a game in the season series, but both were in Chicago. The Predators are 8-1-1 at home so far this season, and the crowd is sure to be loud on Tuesday. NBCSN will have the broadcast starting at 8pm Eastern.