The up and down trajectory of the Carolina Hurricanes season was due for an uptick after Tuesday’s debacle in Toronto, and on cue the Canes delivered with a 4-1 victory over the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night.
A swift strike on an early power play from Derek Ryan had the Canes off and running in the Music City. They never looked back, as Elias Lindholm potted one on a tip from a shot from Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanifin continued his hot streak and Victor Rask added an additional tally all within the first seven minutes of play to make the score 4-0.
The speed and tempo for Carolina rarely dissipated, and the tremendous effort early on the offensive end was held up by another in a string of solid performances from resurgent netminder Cam Ward, who stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced.
A three point night for Noah Hanifin continues what has been perhaps the most welcome revelation of play for Carolina, as Hanifin closes in on 20 points prior to the halfway point in the season. Coupled with his progressing defensive play, the trajectory of his improvement has been a major development for the Canes.
Lindholm’s second goal of the game was the second tip-in goal earned by the Canes gaining the valuable real estate in front of the net. His tally and the two in the next three minutes ended the night prematurely for starting goalie Pekka Rinne, who allowed four goals on just six shots. Juuse Saros replaced him, and he stopped all 26 shots he faced but by then the damage was done. Kevin Fiala tallied for the Preds, but neither team found the net in the final two periods as the Canes cruised to a relatively easy win.
The win was the fourth straight for the Hurricanes over the Predators, and gave the Canes a second straight season sweep over the Preds.
One of the more complete efforts of the season for the Hurricanes, they will seek to build on this performance as they return to PNC Arena for a contest with the cellar-dwelling Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. The ability to build on terrific performances such as tonight’s will be ultimately what the success of the season will be measured upon. For the Canes, the pending homestand provides a great opportunity to do just that.
Rank the Performances
Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.