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Canes lose hard-fought, lopsided battle in Nashville

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The Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Nashville Predators 5-4 in double overtime, but still control a 2-1 series lead.

NHL: MAY 21 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round - Hurricanes at Predators Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes battled hard, but just couldn’t edge out the Nashville Predators, who clawed their way to a 5-4 double overtime victory Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.

The Hurricanes were not only in a battle with the Preds, but were also fighting the on-ice officials as once again Nashville was awarded seven power plays including a 5-on-3 and one during the second overtime period.

It’s a concerning trend for while the Hurricanes still lead the series 2-1, the constant penalty calls have prevented the team from being able to play their game effectively.

But the word of the game was eventuality.

Eventually, the two dependable offensive forces in this series, Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal, would score as each picked up their third goals of the series pulling the Hurricanes back into the game every time the Predators took a lead.

Aho’s toss to the net found a Nashville stick and bounced up and over Juuse Saros to answer the Predator’s early tally.

And it was Staal with the wheels as he got in alone on a breakaway and wasted no time on anything fancy simply shooting it past Saros early into the second to keep the Canes from losing any momentum after the team allowed a very late go-ahead goal to the Predators in the first.

Eventually, Vincent Trocheck was going to get a goal. He had been robbed by Saros four or five times already in just the first two games of the series, but his snipe from an impossible angle was a thing of beauty.

Eventually, the Hurricanes’ penalty kill was going to concede a goal against. It only took Nashville 13 attempts, a 5-on-3, completely new units and a puck barely squeezing away from Nedeljkovic and lying right on the goal line for a tap-in, but hey they got one.

And eventually Nashville was going to win a game even despite a bit of Brett Pesce magic to send it to overtime.

A sweep in the NHL playoffs is a very rare occurrence and it wasn’t likely going to happen, especially with the Hurricanes missing their top defenseman in Jaccob Slavin.

The Predators were also the more desperate team. They needed a win badly to have any kind of chance in the series and the Canes were being outworked for the majority of the game. They especially weren’t doing themselves any favors with the constant parade to the penalty box.

The penalties were penalties. That’s true. But the main problem has been the inconsistency with which the NHL officials have been calling the games, especially in Games 2 and 3.

The momentum swings have been huge and while Carolina has not allowed them to sway a game too much one way, they can’t get their own game going and it allows Nashville to actually be able to hang around and take a game.

The Canes just need to rest and be ready for Game 4 as it will be a short turnaround time with an afternoon matchup starting at 2:30 on Sunday still in Nashville.