In the 17th meeting between the two teams, just in 2021 alone — counting regular season, playoffs and preseason games — it was mostly the same storyline that you’ve come to expect.
A physical and hard fought match, tightly played, where frustrating saves are being made left and right by the goaltenders, and with every inch of ice of the ice having to be earned.
But it was the Carolina Hurricanes that emerged victoriously from the quagmire, snatching a late go-ahead goal and staving off the last minute push by the Nashville Predators to escape with a 3-2 win Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.
The Canes had settled into the game fairly quickly, killing off an early penalty just a few minutes into the game and they wasted no time taking it to the Preds.
It was noted offensive specialist, Jesper Fast, with the fast tally as he entered the zone, kept the puck and sniped it, top corner, bar down.
From there, the Canes and Preds played an even period, exchanging chances back and forth, but the on-ice standouts were far and away the netminders.
Frederik Andersen, who had a bit of rebound issues Thursday against the Islanders, was completely dialed in, tracking pucks well and coming up big with stops time and time again.
And his counterpart in yellow, Juuse Saros, was just as up to the task. The Finnish netminder has been the lifeblood of the Nashville Predators of late and he continued to show why, putting on a dominant performance in front of the raucous Bridgestone Arena crowd.
Andrei Svechnikov, who had a dominant performance in the season opener on Thursday, gifted Nashville the puck at the blueline where Ryan Johansen picked it up, split the Canes’ defense and roofed a backhander over Andersen.
After that, the ice began to tilt towards Nashville and Andersen was doing all he could to keep his team in the game.
It was a rare dud overall for Carolina who was outshot 40-32 in the game, where no one but the Jordan Staal line with Fast and Nino Niederreiter was having much success.
Rod Brind’Amour even ended up going to the line blender fairly early into the third period trying to find a spark for his team.
And he managed to find one late in the third.
After the Hurricanes survived another wave of Nashville offense, Brett Pesce aerialed a puck out of the zone where it corralled by Martin Necas who fed it to Svechnikov for a beautiful short side goal.
With time ticking down, Nashville pulled Saros for the extra attacker, but Teuvo Teravainen managed to nail the long range clear into the empty net for a 3-1 lead.
The Predators pushed again, and a late goal by Filip Forsberg made it interesting, but Andersen and the Canes shut it down the rest of the way to secure the win, their first time starting a season 2-0 with both wins coming in regulation since 2001. (CC: @bdleblanc).
The Hurricanes have won their first two games in regulation for the first time in TWENTY YEARS.— Brian LeBlanc (@bdleblanc) October 17, 2021
No joke. You can look it up. Last time it happened was 2001. Crazy.
The Canes will continue on the road trip and head north to face their best friends the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night.