The Carolina Hurricanes started a new season but fell victim to familiar circumstances as the Nashville Predators jumped out to a dominating, 2-0 lead in the first period, then held on to win 2-1 on Thursday night in Nashville.
The Canes had trouble generating much of anything in that disastrous first period as they were outshot 14-5 and out-played throughout that period.
Of course it did not help that newcomer James Wisniewski was injured early in the game as well. The defenseman was tripped up and had to be helped off the ice with an apparent leg injury. There was no update on his status.
The Preds took a 1-0 lead just 2:23 into the game during a powerplay after Jordan Staal got called for a very undisciplined high-sticking call. Staal waved his stick high around in the air with one hand and clipped an opponent after slamming into the boards.
The home team used the energy in the building to control the game at this point as the Hurricanes had trouble getting the puck into their offensive zone.
Later in the period, Viktor Arvidsson scored his first career NHL goal as a result of creating traffic in front of Cam Ward.
For the most part, Ward played very well in this game and kept the contest close while the Preds peppered him with shots, but Pekka Rinne was equal to the task later in the game when the Canes finally did get some momentum going.
Eric Staal got credit for the game's final tally when he rifled a shot toward the net at an angle with just 1:40 left. Victor Rask was battling in front but the puck must have gone in off a defenseman.
The Canes scored the goal after pulling Ward and using an extra skater and they tried that strategy the rest of the way but could not get another one past the Nashville netminder.
The Hurricanes can take comfort in the fact that they did play better as the game went on, but then again, the Predators had a two goal lead and did not need to force much offensive pressure after the deciding opening period of play.
The team will return to North Carolina right after the game and will prepare for their home opener against Detroit on Saturday night.
- Noah Hanifin had a solid NHL debut. He finished with 18:06 of ice time.
- After being dominated early, the Canes did out-shoot the Preds for the game, 26-25. Kris Versteeg led the team with four.
- The Canes won 65% of the game's faceoffs. Jordan Staal had a team best 75% while Rask was next with 67%.
- It seemed like Carolina had a lot of missed shots, another common problem from last season. They did miss the net 16 times compared to 7 for Nashville.
- The team went 0-3 on the powerplay and allowed 1-3 on the kill.
- Justin Faulk had a game-high 29:28 of ice time.
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