NHL Tuesday CNBC Preview: Nashville Predators at Carolina Hurricanes.
Nashville made this a best-of-three series with their 4-3 victory in double-overtime at the Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. That victory came after the Predators won the third game of this series at home in double-overtime, 5-4, on Friday.
Luke Kunin opened the scoring in the first minute for Nashville on Sunday. Vincent Trocheck evened the score at 1-1 at the 18:03 mark of the first period. Ryan Johansen gave the Predators’ a 2-1 lead 3:15 minutes into the second period. Brock McGinn tied the game up with under two minutes to go in the period. He scored again 13 seconds into the third period to give Carolina the 3-2 lead. Nick Cousins tied the game with a power-play goal at the 16:10 mark of the third period to force overtime. After a scoreless 20 minutes in the first overtime session, Kunn scored his second goal of the game at the 16:10 minute mark of the second overtime to give Nashville the win.
Predators’ goaltender Juuse Saros stopped 58 of the 61 shots he faced, including 20 shots in overtime. Saros stopped 52 of the 56 shots he faced in the double-overtime game on Friday. He became the second goalie since the 1955-56 season to make at least 50 saves in two straight playoff games. Curtis Joseph last accomplished this feat in 1993 when he made 61 and 51 saves for St. Louis. Saros has a .940 save percentage in these last two games. For the series, Saros has a 2.52 goals-against-average and a .929 save percentage.
Head coach John Hynes' decision to have Matt Duchene join the top line of Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen in the wake of the lower-body injury to right wing Viktor Arvidsson has produced dividends. The trio has combined to produce 10 points in this series. Defenseman Ryan Ellis leads the team with four points.
Carolina won the first two games of this series by 5-2 and 3-0 scores. They hold a 10-9 lead in goals when playing at even strength, and they have a 40 to 36 edge in high-danger opportunities. Sebastian Aho leads the way with five points in this series. His three goals are tied with Jordan Staal for most on the team. Brett Pesce has four points coming from one goal and three assists.
Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 39 of the 43 shots he faced on Sunday. The rookie has a 2.13 goals-against-average and a .928 save percentage in his four starts in this series. After two straight losses, head coach Rod Brind’Amour may turn to Petr Mrazek or James Reimer to serve as the team’s goaltender.
Top pair defenseman Jacob Slavin missed his third straight game for the Hurricanes. He is questionable to play tonight with his lower-body injury. Arvidsson is questionable for the Predators.
This series returns to Carolina’s PNC Arena for this pivotal fifth game. The home team has held serve in all four games so far this series. BetAnySports lists the Hurricanes as a -185 money line favorite with the total set at 5.5. The puck drops at 8:08 PM ET on CNBC.
Computer prediction: Carolina Hurricanes 4 Nashville Predators 1