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Canes complete comeback, advance to second round

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The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Nashville Predators 4-3 in overtime to take the first round series 4-2.

Carolina Hurricanes v Nashville Predators - Game Six Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Canes in 6.

The Carolina Hurricanes closed out their first round series against the Nashville Predators with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 6 Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

The Canes dug in and played their hearts out as the team surmounted a two-goal deficit to finish off the series with their second straight overtime victory.

Now it’s time for the second round against the defending champions. The Tampa Bay Lightning.

But let’s take a look back at the clinching game.

For the fifth — and fourth straight — time in the series, the Carolina Hurricanes had conceded the opening goal, this time just 104 seconds into the game. It was yet another deflection goal from in front for Nashville as Nick Cousins bought up real estate at the top of the blue and never got moved.

And it seemed like right away, it was going to get worse as the Predators’ Stampede/Herd/Energy line sprung Yakov Trenin in alone against Alex Nedeljkovic, but it was the Canes’ netminder that won the battle, as he had time and time again throughout the series.

That was the momentum the Canes needed to get their heads back into the game for a bit and Brock McGinn put it upon himself to set things right with a great individual effort starting with winning a puck below the goal line and ending with a post-and-in snipe.

The first was a back-and-forth affair from there, but unfortunately, the second period opened much like the first.

The same two problems that had plagued Carolina all series, failing to clear pucks up the boards and leaving opponents alone in close, just kept biting them.

This time it was both as a failed clear was caught at the blueline and put back on net where Mikael Granlund was able to take his time to turn around and shoot a wrister past Nedeljkovic.

And then it did get worse.

With the Hurricanes on a power play, Dougie Hamilton dragged a Nashville defender down on a clear to bring it to a 4-on-4 and after the Nashville penalty was killed, Aho took a slashing penalty to give the Predators a 5-on-3.

The Preds quickly scored on that opportunity — their second 5-on-3 goal of the series — and took their first multi-goal lead of the series.

But the Canes managed to scrounge together a bit of life late in the second with a timely power play goal. It was a good keep by Hamilton who put the puck back on net where Aho deflected it in past Juuse Saros.

It was a good response from the two players that had to watch the Predators score from the box.

When the third period started, the Canes knew they needed to be better and better they were. The team was all over Nashville from the jump and after coming in wave after wave with their forecheck they finally broke through Saros.

After the third Predator’s icing, the Hurricanes set up the perfect faceoff play with Jaccob Slavin threading the perfect pass to Hamilton who had snuck all the way up to the backdoor.

We all knew what that would mean though. Overtime for the fourth straight game.

But the Hurricanes took mercy on the patrons that tuned in for the 9:30 p.m. EST puck drop and ended it just 1:06 into overtime with Aho tipping another defenseman’s shot.

The Canes had completed the comeback, putting together a clutch third period to advance and now look to host the Lightning for Game 1 of Round 2 in Raleigh on Sunday.