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Recap: Predators 3, Hurricanes 2

The Carolina Hurricanes could not complete a season sweep of the Nashville Predators, allowing three third-period goals to fall 3-2 on the road.

Paul Gaustad celebrates Nashville's game-winning goal, scored by Roman Josi, in the Predators’ 3-2 win Tuesday.
Paul Gaustad celebrates Nashville's game-winning goal, scored by Roman Josi, in the Predators’ 3-2 win Tuesday.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

For 40 minutes, it was a typical Carolina Hurricanes game. But the third period was anything but normal in the Canes 3-2 loss Tuesday in Nashville.

The Canes held a 1-0 lead through two periods, led by their special teams play and a solid effort from Cam Ward. Of late these kind of games have ended 2-1, but instead it was offense from the blue line that highlighted the final frame. Ryan Ellis helped the Preds finally crack Ward, scoring on a soft short-side goal at 4:43 that kicked off a four-goal, back-and-fourth third period.

The Hurricanes power play struck for the second time with less than 12 minutes left when Justin Faulk scored his seventh goal of the season on a point shot that beat Pekka Rinne (23 saves on 25 shots). But that was all the offense Carolina would get, allowing the game-tying goal by Mike Fisher just more than two minutes later, followed by the game-winner by Predators defenseman Roman Josi with less than five minutes left.

Carolina did have a late power play opportunity that generated a couple of prime chances to tie the game — including a Jeff Skinner shot that grazed Rinne’s shoulder and hit the crossbar — but it was cut short when Jordan Staal was called for a retaliatory slash right after Eric Nystrom delivered a two-handed slash across his wrist that went uncalled. Prior to that, Shea Weber twice held Carolina players behind the net with a free hand but was not called.

Both Eric Staal — who got his 300th goal on the first-period power play tally — and Faulk finished with two points, and Victor Rask snapped a 15-game point drought when he earned the lone assist on Faulk’s goal.

The Hurricanes return home and will play Buffalo Thursday at 7 p.m. at PNC Arena.

Game Notes:

  • Carolina kept their penalty killing streak alive, denying Nashville on two power play opportunities, and the Canes also went 2 of 3 to snap out of a man-advantage slump.
  • Faulk led all Hurricanes with four shots and eight total shot attempts. Nashville rookie Filip Forsberg led all players with 10 shot attempts (three on goal) and also had a game-high three hits.
  • Ward allowed three even strength goals for the first time since Dec. 16, when he gave up four in a 4-1 loss in Montreal. Ward is now 2-8-1 in last 11 starts despite allowing two or fewer goals in eight of those games.