Penalties Derail Nashville Predators Against Carolina Hurricanes

Mar 9, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Martin Necas (88) checks Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Martin Necas (88) checks Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

After the Nashville Predators squeaked out victory from the jaws of defeat against the Dallas Stars, they needed overtime again in their second game of the 8-game road trip, but they couldn’t pull out the win this time.

For a game that was up and down in some aspects, stagnate in others, the Predators looked like they would be able to pull out the win, but this one was another instance where they failed to get out of their own way. Let’s break down the 3-2 (OT) loss.

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The first period didn’t have much action, ending 0-0 with Carolina outshooting the Nashville Predators 15-7. The defense (and Pekka Rinne) held strong while offense tried to wake itself up.

However, it was also the debut of defenseman Jeremy Davies, starting in place of an injured Roman Josi (get well soon, Cap).

Davies was one of the prospects that was acquired in the P.K. Subban trade with the New Jersey Devils.

Davies was one of six rookies in the starting lineup for the Predators including his linemate Alexandre Carrier, and forwards Yakov Trenin (technically a rookie), Mathieu Olivier, Rem Pitlick in his second game, and of course, the “Chosen One”, Eeli Tolvanen.

Overall, the kids looked alright. Davies showed why he’s a respected offensive-minded defenseman, and he definitely has some creativity to his game that makes him a two-way threat, looking right at home on the top power play unit as well.

The one rookie who really slipped up was the “Biloxi Bull”, Mathieu Olivier, who didn’t have his best night and committed a bad high sticking penalty resulting in a double minor and the power-play that allowed the Hurricanes to tie the game at 2-2 in the second period.

Good Preds, Bad Preds

The second period had it all. No, really, it was the only period outside of overtime where goals were scored.

The Nashville Predators offense seemed to wake up after the first intermission because they came out buzzing much more than they were in the first period. Just over the first minute mark, Matt Benning was able to find a puck in traffic down in front of the net, and bury it in to give the team a 1-0 lead.

The team was able to settle things down defensively, and with under 8 minutes left in the period, Ryan Johansen was able to tip in a goal off a blistering shot from Dante Fabbro. As a side note, Johansen looked the best he’s looked all season in this game.

Just when all looked like it was going right for the Predators, the team did what it’s known to do, and began to play undisciplined hockey. Dante Fabbro had flashes of brilliance, but his elbow to the face of Brock McGinn (that luckily didn’t result in more than a minor penalty) put the Hurricanes on the power play.

Carolina was able to capitalize on a Jordan Staal goal that Aho and Trocheck assisted, and it was evident why they are in the top 5 in the NHL on the man advantage.

Just when things looked bad, they got worse as Olivier committed the aforementioned high sticking penalty. With a little over two minutes left in the period, Carolina made the Predators pay off a surgical Sebastian Aho goal to tie things up at 2-2. The Predators were lucky to end the period still tied, but it looked like all momentum had shifted.

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Close, but No Cigar

The Nashville Predators have been much improved on the power play as of late, especially with the addition of Tolvanen, ranking in almost the top half of the league…almost.

Unfortunately, the team couldn’t get it going tonight. They weren’t able to take advantage of the one power play in the period, but on the bright side, didn’t give up a power play to Carolina after the second period implosion.

The teams would trade punches, with neither being able to ultimately get the go-ahead goal, and the game would ultimately go in to overtime tied at two apiece. The Predators looked very poised in the overtime period, not giving the Hurricanes to much time to get setup, and forcing turnovers where they could.

In a “how did he miss that” moment, Viktor Arvidsson stunningly sent the puck wide of the goal on what was as about a point blank breakaway as you can get – the monkey may not have left his back for long.

Aho was able to force a turnover, fed the puck to Jaccob Slavin who found Jordan Staal for the game-winning goal, and just like that, it was over.

151. 3. 109. Final/OT. 2

Takeaways and What’s Next

The team actually played a pretty decent game. One could argue that if not for the penalties in the second period, the Nashville Predators could have easily walked away from the game with two points.

Pekka Rinne made saves where he could and needed to, but once again the team took a good showing and shot themselves in the foot. Carolina is the type of team that will capitalize on your mistakes, and they did just that.

The Predators will get a shot at revenge in Game 2 of the series, the third game in the eight-game road trip, on Thursday night in Raleigh.

Juuse Saros is traveling with the team and is supposedly almost ready to return, otherwise it will likely be Rinne in the net again; it would be poetic justice to see Saros start and (hopefully) win against the same team that put him on the IR one week ago. Puck drop is a 6:00pmCST/7:00pmEST.

Regardless, let’s hope the Nashville Predators get some revenge on the scoreboard, and not en route to the penalty box, on Thursday.