The Canes and the Predators went back and forth all night last night in front of almost 14,000 at the RBC Center. The Preds got on the board early in the first period when rookie Craig Smith was in the right place at the right time to knock in a rebound past Cam Ward at 2:42. This would be the only scoring of the period, as the Canes came back after a slow first five minutes of the game to put 17 shots on Anders Lindback. Despite outshooting the Preds in the first period by 6, the Canes were down 1-0 after the first.
The Canes quickly got on the scoreboard in the second period as Jamie McBain took a pass from Anthony Stewart and ripped a shot from the blue line and was tipped by a Nashville Predators stick on the way through and made it past Lindback to tie the game at one with 5:17 into the second period. Nashville pushed back again, though, as Colin Wilson got to a loose puck after Jamie McBain was stripped of it coming out of his own zone and Cam Ward didn’t have a chance to recover as the Preds took a 2-1 lead. Just a few seconds later, Andrei Kostitsyn took a hooking call at 12:52 to send the Canes on the power play. Eric Staal would quickly capitalize as he took a loose puck off of the stick of Jeff Skinner and sent it past the Preds’ keeper to tie the game at 2. Skinner and Jussi Jokinen would get the assists on the first power play goal of the night for the Canes. Just a few minutes later, the normally disciplined Predators took another penalty as Shea Weber went to the box for hooking. Jeff Skinner took a pass from Eric Staal and quickly went to the net and Tim Brent knocked the puck in underneath Lindback’s pad to give the Canes a 3-2 lead. Carolina put 13 shots on goal during the second period, compared to only 6 for Nashville and had a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission.
The Canes started the third period on the penalty kill as Bryan Allen went to the box at 19:21 of the second period. It was the end of the penalty kill as Eric Staal flipped a puck out of the zone as Allen was coming out of the box and the Canes defenseman slipped the puck five-hole on Lindback to give the Canes a 4-2 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Predators scored less than a minute later as Gabriel Bourque got one past Cam Ward to bring the Predators within one. The Preds came on strong in the third period as they peppered Cam Ward with 16 shots on goal, compared to only 7 shots registered for Carolina. Despite those attempts, Ward stood strong and was able to hold off some last ditch efforts to pick up the win 4-3.
- The Canes special teams ruled the night as the Canes went 2 for 5 on the power play, plus Allen’s goal coming after the Canes were able to kill off the Preds’ only power play of the night.
- Shots on goal ended up 33-29 in favor of Carolina, but the Canes had the shot advantage after the first and second periods.
- Eric Staal continues on his torrid pace, as he adds a goal and two assists, which brings him to 54 points in 63 games. It was also mentioned last night how much his +/- has improved, currently at a -15.
- Cam Ward made 26 saves on 29 shots and was great when he had to be, especially in the third period when the Predators were coming on strong.
- Justin Faulk lead the team with time on ice with 24:01, had 5 shots on goal, 1 block, and ended up with a +1.
The Canes take on the eastern conference leading New York Rangers on Thursday night. Make sure to check back in for a game preview! Until then, head over to our Facebook page at Cardiac Cane and give us a like!