The Nashville Predators lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Thursday night in what could very well be a first-round playoff preview.
Just two days after an electric win over the Lightning, the Predators got hit with a tidal wave of offense from the Hurricanes, and couldn’t keep up.
This game will surely serve as a reality check for the red-hot Predators, who were on a 13-3-0 streak entering the game last night.
The Predators still have yet to beat the Hurricanes this season, though they do have three remaining matchups, the final two of which will be played at Bridgestone Arena to round out the regular season.
Nashville Predators Doppler Forecast: 100% Chance of Loss
The Predators started out strong with Tanner Jeannot laying a big hit early. The Predators also put one off the post quickly after the game started, and overall had aggressive play.
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Even with a few early penalties on both teams, passing was crisp, and even though they didn’t score, the Predators controlled 95 percent of the opening period.
The other five percent, however, came in the final two minutes when Carolina scored on a broken play, bringing the Preds’ momentum to a screeching halt.
Less than 20 seconds into the second period, Andrei Svechnikov blew past the entire Nashville defense and scored. The Preds were now down two goals, and the Canes had all the momentum.
The Predators looked visibly frustrated after two goals allowed and multiple cheap shots from Carolina, and gave up a third goal just five minutes later.
This set the tone for the remainder of the game, as Carolina surged and the Predators started to lose their presence and composure.
Nashville’s power play through the game was terrible, but fortunately, special teams still made a difference as Erik Haula took a chip pass from Colton Sissons and scored a short-handed goal halfway through the 3rd period.
Carolina was unfazed, however, and continued to completely control the game, capping off their 4-1 victory with a power play goal of their own with less than 3 minutes remaining.
That Blew…So Now What?
I think most fans are probably bummed, yet unsurprised by this loss. Carolina is an incredibly good team, and frankly with all the injuries Nashville has suffered, we’re no match for them.
Even the “Herd Line” had a bit of trouble getting position and control on the ice as Carolina is both fast and physical, creating offense out of transitions in the blink of an eye.
Juuse Saros made some excellent saves, but unfortunately couldn’t withstand the relentless attack from the Carolina offense, giving up four goals for the first time since February 9.
Jeremy Davies also had a very rough game, consistently getting out-hustled and out-muscled.
The Predators hit three or four posts through the game, including one on the very first possession. One has to think that if one or two of those go in, maybe we can turn the tides and have a shot at winning.
Regardless, the boys need to shake this loss off and get revenge on Saturday. I think the Predators need to get at least one win against Carolina not just because we need the points to stay playoff-bound (which we do), but just to prove to ourselves that we’re capable of beating them.
The Predators fortunately still hold a four-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks, who also lost to the Detroit Red Wings last night.
However, the Predators have a difficult schedule to finish the year, including three games against Chicago and three against Carolina. The Preds will need to summon everything they have in this final playoff push.
Oh, and getting healthy would be nice.
The Nashville Predators will take on the Hurricanes again on Saturday with a 6 P.M. CST puck drop.