The Carolina Hurricanes played an entirely different game than they did the previous night in Pittsburgh, but hung on to gain a point in the standings as they lost to the Nashville Predators in a shootout on Saturday night, 2-1. The Canes mustered only three shots on goal for the entire first period -- their lowest shot total for a period this season -- but still were able to get a 1-0 lead on a bouncing shot by Joni Pitkanen.
The Preds tied things up early in the second when Jerred Smithson got behind the defense, but then both teams were able to shut each other down the rest of the night.
After the game, Paul Maurice seemed pleased with his team's effort and fairly happy with the result, under the circumstances. It was the third game in four nights for the Hurricanes and Nashville seemed perfectly happy to cycle the puck as long as they could in the Carolina zone.
After a scoreless overtime, once again coach Maurice sent out Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen, and Patrick O`Sullivan to get the job done. But only Skinner was able to connect, as he started off the shootout with a nicely placed top shelf shot. Jokinen was stopped as he went wide and O'Sullivan's shot was also stopped.
Cal O`Reilly and Martin Erat both scored on their attempts to give the visitors the win.
Quick Thoughts and Stats:
- After a good opening period of faceoffs, (50%), the Canes finished at 37% for the night. Staal had a team best 47%, Sutter was 44%, Ruutu was 45%, and Matsumoto was 0-6 at 0%.
- The team ended up with 22 shots on goal. Sergei Samsonov had a team high of four.
- Skinner picked up an assist on Pitkanen's goal. It was the rookie's first point in five games. He came close to scoring a couple of times himself and missed an open net in the first period when he hit the post. After the game he couldn't really explain the miss when asked about it. "I don't know," he said. "You go over it a thousand times in your head, but .. I don't know."
- The team fell into a bit of a trap and played Nashville's game. Maurice didn't necessarily think that was a bad thing. "That was a great sign for our team, but not a great game," the coach said. "There was some ugliness to the game, there was no ease to it, but I thought almost to a shift we accepted it and fought."
- The team was credited with 34 hits. Tim Gleason led the way with seven and Jay Harrison was next with five.
The team will take Sunday off and go back to practice on Monday. The Washington Capitals are next on the schedule and will visit on Wednesday night. With one fourth of the season now complete, we will be providing various analysis and stats during the next couple of days.