Despite the Canes scoring first, Peter Laviolette saw his Nashville Predators take a come-from-behind 2-1 win in overtime in front of 12,149 at PNC Arena on Saturday.
"We felt like we played well enough to win," said goaltender Eddie Lack, who has now gone six starts in a row without a regulation loss (4-0-2). "They got a lucky bounce on their goal there."
An unwelcome surprise revealed itself in the pregame warmup. Jay McClement, who had played in every game since joining the Hurricanes in the 2014 offseason, was a late scratch due to an illness. It ended a streak of 198 straight starts for McClement, who last missed a game in October 2013 while a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For the fifth straight game, the Canes scored the game's opening goal. Saturday, it was Victor Rask doing the honors, cleaning up a rebound from Jeff Skinner. The former Calder Trophy winner bull rushed his way past Nashville's Ryan Ellis and forced a poke check save from Pekka Rinne, but Rask was there to knock the rebound back in 8:58 into the game.
The Canes scored on their fourth shot. From there, Rinne took over, stopping the final 23 shots that he faced.
Six minutes into the second period, the Hurricanes lost Phil Di Giuseppe to an upper-body injury after an awkward collision with Eric Nystrom. Canes coach Bill Peters confirmed that Di Giuseppe went through the concussion protocol in the locker room, although he had no update on his status beyond that.
A few minutes after the Canes went down to eleven forwards, they conceded a shorthanded goal to tie the game. Matthias Ekholm, who would be heard from again later, took a harmless-looking shot that was tipped by Paul Gaustad and knuckled past Lack, the lucky bounce he referred to after the game. The goal was, unsurprisingly, Gaustad's first of the season.
Filip Forsberg then apparently put the Preds ahead 90 seconds later, but despite being ruled a goal on the ice the video review showed that his shot hit the post and the crossbar but never went into the net.
Despite an 11-3 shot advantage in the third period, including an Eric Staal attempt that Rinne turned away in the waning seconds, the Canes were unable to dent the Predators' goaltender, and each team earned a point as the game headed to overtime.
In the extra session, Ekholm was the difference again. This time, it was a sneaky wrist shot that beat Lack cleanly over his right shoulder into the top corner of the net.
"I thought it was a real even game," said Peters. "There wasn't a lot of room. I didn't think we were all that sharp."
The Canes hit the road on Sunday to western Canada to begin a two-game visit to Edmonton and Vancouver beginning Monday night in a rematch of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.