It’s been so far, so good for Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen, as he was the star of the game last night in Carolina’s 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators. Looking sharp, he allowed just two goals on 40 shots.
It was a clear goalie battle as the Hurricanes faced the Predators for their 17th meeting since January. Their last matchup was the finale to the first round of the playoffs, where the Canes managed to defeat the Predators in six games.
The Hurricanes were coming off a season-opening win against the Islanders, and the Predators were fresh off of a loss to the Seattle Kraken.
It was a hard fought game to the end.
The Canes were outshot 40-32, and were outshot 15-8 during the second period, their worst offensive spurt of the night.
Let’s look at a few takeaways:
Another fast start
Jesper Fast opened the scoring for Carolina at 6:19 into the first period with a bar down wrist shot to the top corner. The goal was assisted by Jaccob Slavin and captain Jordan Staal. This was Fast’s second goal in the opening two games, but the scoresheet hasn’t illustrated the full picture of his contributions.
“He’s been steady,” head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You know what you’re getting out of that guy. That’s what you love about him as a coach.”
Fast ended the game with two shots and added a hit and a takeaway into the mix. He’s been a phenomenal two way player and has proven his reliability throughout the first two games of the season.
Sharp as a knife
Frederik Andersen impressed in his second game with the Hurricanes, making saves left and right to keep Carolina in striking distance of a win. He looked calm and steady all the way to the end as he faced plenty of tough shots from the Predators.
“I haven’t seen a lot of games like that in the three years I’ve been doing this, where clearly the goalie was the reason we won the game, in my opinion,” Brind’Amour said after Saturday’s win.
Killing it off
The Hurricanes penalty killing units were perfect last night, killing off all four of Nashville’s power plays.
Early in the game, Jordan Martinook ended up in the box with a minor penalty for high sticking. The penalty killing unit impressed, clearing the puck five times and subsequently killing off the penalty.
Andrei Svechnikov later picked up a slashing penalty with just over three minutes remaining in the first period. The Hurricanes had another good kill, clearing the puck three times and showcasing their defensive talents.
This pattern continued, as Carolina was able to capitalize on chances, intercept key passes and clear the puck consistently. This aspect of their special teams deserves a round of applause for its performance last night.
Drop the gloves
These two teams have history. There’s no denying that, and it showed through the physicality of the game.
Just a few minutes into the game, Tony DeAngelo got sandwiched by two Predators, took a hard hit and briefly left the ice and headed to the dressing room. Luckily, he returned to the bench quickly and played out the rest of the game, but the high compete level of Nashville was clearly present as they were hoping to celebrate their revenge party for last season’s abrupt ending.
There were pushes and shoves all around, as Tanner Jeannot had a hard hit on Jordan Martinook and tried to drop the gloves with him, but Martinook didn’t bite.
The game ended with 28 hits total, 15 of those coming from Nashville, while the other 13 were registered by Carolina.
Svechnikov strikes again
After a careless pass by Andrei Svechnikov, leading to Ryan Johansen’s goal, he made up for his mistake by scoring an important one for the Canes, giving them a lead of 2-1.
With just six minutes remaining in regulation, this game was reeking of familiarity. The last four matchups between these two teams resulted in overtime, but Svechnikov helped to end the streak with a perfectly placed wrist shot to the top left corner, assisted by Martin Necas and Brett Pesce.
“I made a big mistake when they scored their first goal, and I had to do that,” Svechnikov said.
It's your best friend Svech pic.twitter.com/c19879lNSk— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) October 17, 2021
Better next time
The main area of tonight’s game that lacked rhythm and spark was the power play.
The Canes had a 5-on-3 chance 12:23 into the first period and failed to capitalize. They were too pass-heavy and the results were disappointing.
The Canes had four chances to score with the man-advantage last night and went 0-4, proving that while their penalty kill is near-perfect, their power play leaves much to be desired.
Teravainen seals the deal
Teuvo Teravainen closed out the win for Carolina with a 150-ft empty-netter with 1:12 left in regulation. This extended the Canes lead to 3-1, which proved to be necessary after Nashville ended up scoring a late goal with an extra attacker to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 45 seconds remaining.
The Canes’ next matchup is another away game this coming Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens who are currently 0-3-0.