The Carolina Hurricanes continued their preseason campaign on Wednesday night falling by a score of 3-0 to the Nashville Predators in the Music City. Pekka Rinne claimed the shutout in his dress rehearsal for the regular season for the Preds.
It was mostly an even affair in the early going, but eventually the Canes found themselves in penalty trouble late in the opening stanza following a Jake Bean holding call and a delay of game from Hadyn Fleury just 23 seconds later. From there, the Canes put together their best defensive work in from of Anton Forsberg to keep the Preds off the scoreboard. After surviving that flurry of activity in front of their own net, the Canes were pleased to enter to room still knotted at zero.
The second period featured a bit more of an open game as the two sides traded chances, including a tremendous sprawling stop with the glove by Forsberg against Kyle Turris on a two-on-one. It also featured perhaps the scariest moment of the night, as newly-signed Ryan Dzingel left the ice after having his left leg bent awkwardly following the opening faceoff of the period. Dzingel did not return and it has been labeled as a lower body injury. There was no update available post-game; expect more news in the coming days after the Canes return to Raleigh.
In terms of the remainder of the game however, the teams continued to trade chances and powerplay opportunities until the Preds broke the deadlock with a powerplay goal from Craig Smith with just seconds remaining in the period. In his two periods of action, Anton Forsberg was impressive in stopping 22 of 23 shots faced.
Nashville extended their lead just four minutes into the final period when Mattias Ekholm was the beneficiary of a strange deflection on a bad-angle shot from Ryan Ellis. Ellis’ attempt caught the skate of Colin Markison and fluttered end-over-end towards the net, catching Ekholm near the face, and then sailing over the shoulder of Forsberg to make the score 2-0. From there, the Canes continued to struggle as they took more chances in hopes of creating some offense. Just over the halfway point in the third, Ekholm added another tally in a more conventional manner as he snapped a wrister past Forsberg to make it 3-0.
3-0 was the way this one would end, as the Canes were unable to breakthrough against Pekka Rinne who went the distance for the shutout, stopping all 32 shots he faced.
The Canes fell to 2-2 on the preseason, having now lost two in a row. In terms of bright spots, Erik Haula continued to show that he is ready to compete for a spot at Center as he put together a solid two-way game and sported a 64% faceoff rate on the night.
Up next, the Predators will return the engagement on Friday night as they travel to Raleigh for the Canes second home preseason tilt.