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Reimer, Hurricanes outduel Predators in Nashville

The Carolina Hurricanes opened up a back-to-back with the Nashville Predators with a 4-2 win Monday night, as Andrei Svechnikov tallied a goal and assist to lead the way.

Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes continued a season-opening road trip Monday night in Nashville, beating the Predators 4-2 behind a two-point night from Andrei Svechnikov and strong performance in net from James Reimer.

Svechnikov scored the Canes’ opener in the second period and assisted a Sebastian Aho goal in the third, and he now has five points through three games this season. Vincent Trocheck netted his second of the season in the third to regain a lead for the Canes, and Nino Niederreiter sealed things with an empty netter. Trocheck and Aho both also had an assist.

For Nashville, Filip Forsberg tied things up in the second shortly after Svechnikov’s opener, while Viktor Arvidsson cut a 3-1 Canes’ lead to 3-2 in the third. Veteran Pekka Rinne was between the pipes for the Preds, stopping 16 of 18 shots faced.

Reimer was a big positive for the Canes in his first game of the season, stopping 31 of 33 shots faced. He made some great saves along the way, keeping things scoreless early and helping to preserve Carolina’s leads late.

The first 20 minutes weren’t the prettiest for either team, as things entered the first intermission still scoreless. Reimer was sharp in his first period of hockey of the season, stopping 12 shots in the first period alone.

The Canes had a couple of decent looks, including a two-on-one from Svechnikov to Aho and a point shot from Haydn Fleury created by an outstanding individual effort from Teuvo Teravainen, but Carolina couldn’t capitalize on either.

Twice in the first period the Hurricanes had penalties quickly nullified by Nashville, as the Predators committed a penalty of their own within 20 seconds both times. The over three minutes of four-on-four hockey didn’t produce a goal. Carolina was whistled once more near the end of the period as Svechnikov was called for tripping, but killed it off in the second period.

For the majority of the second period the Predators dominated the puck but Reimer couldn’t be beat, as the Canes netminder made a couple of great saves to keep things at 0-0. Nashville also had some unforced errors in the offensive third to help that as well.

The Canes’ first full power play of the night broke the stalemate, as Svechnikov ripped a phenomenal snipe past Rinne with under four minutes to play in the middle frame. Forsberg was whistled for interference, and Svechnikov unloaded a wicked wrister for his third goal in three games less than a minute later.

Carolina however immediately gave back its goal advantage, as Forsberg made up for his costly penalty with a game-tying tally just 46 seconds later. Dante Fabbro dumped a puck out of the defensive zone and Arvidsson redirected it with a subtle touch, springing Forsberg in for a one-on-one with Reimer..

In Saturday’s loss to Detroit the Canes gave up a goal less than a minute after a breakthrough goal, and they did it again Monday night in Nashville.

The Canes took the lead early on in the third thanks to some puck luck and a beautiful snipe from Trocheck. Shortly after a Nashville shot rattled off the Canes’ post, Trocheck forced a turnover and laced a wrister past Rinne’s blocker and under the crossbar.

The Hurricanes struck again shortly after killing off a Brady Skjei penalty, as Aho tallied his first goal of the season off a great feed from Svechnikov. Jake Gardiner made a really strong defensive play to deny a Nashville opportunity and hit Svechnikov, who brought it up the ice and delivered a perfect pass across to Aho.

Nashville again answered right back after a Carolina goal, as Arvidsson netted on a power play after a bad penalty taken by Warren Foegele. The Predators won an offensive zone faceoff and Ryan Johansen laid the puck across the ice to Arvidsson, who wristed a great shot past Reimer to cut Carolina’s lead to one.

The Canes held on to see out the win, as Niederreiter scored his second of the season into an empty net to seal things up.

The Hurricanes and Predators will be right back at it Tuesday night for the second leg of the back-to-back.