The Carolina Hurricanes return home to Raleigh after a grueling 12-day, six-game road trip.
The Canes earned a quality win last night to close the road swing and put the team on a two-game winning streak.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour was particularly happy with last night’s win, pointing to goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov, the penalty kill, and a tight team game as the keys to victory.
An all-around team effort pic.twitter.com/in6QbvIO4H— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) December 15, 2023
While the offensive production for the Canes has been inconsistent, the penalty kill is regaining its form.
In December, the penalty kill is a perfect 20 for 20. The effort on the kill has been even more important with the struggles in net.
However, there have been some encouraging improvements in the crease. In the last two games, Kochetkov has settled down with a pair of games allowing just one goal. This was even more impressive with a Detroit team that has scored the second-most goals in the NHL.
With Kochetkov earning starts in the previous two games, expect Antti Raanta to take the ice first for Carolina this evening.
Last night, Jack Drury scored on a beauty of a pass from Stefan Noesen. Drury has a four-game points streak heading into tonight’s contest.
The head coach will get a big standing ovation tonight. Brind’Amour is coaching his 400th game for the Canes and has the second-most wins for a NHL coach through the first 400 games of a coaching career.
Since mid-November, Nashville has been one of the league’s best teams.
After a four-game losing streak, the Predators kicked off a six-game winning streak on November 18.
From that date forward, Nashville has won 11 of 14 and are on a two-game winning streak.
Like Carolina, Nashville’s penalty kill has been stellar over the past month. Over the past six games, the Predators have killed 95 percent of their penalties.
Filip Forsberg is carrying the offensive load for Nashville. He leads the team in goals (15), assists (18), and points (33). Forsberg scored the overtime winner in their last game, and with that goal, he became the Predators’ all-time overtime goal scorer.
Against the Canes, Forsberg has seven goals and 12 points in 20 games.
Ryan O’Reilly is next in offensive production for the Predators with 12 goals and 11 assists this season.
Ryan McDonagh has the most points scored versus Carolina among current Nashville skaters with six goals and 14 assists.
Juuse Saros has won five straight starts, and the Finn will be the likely starter tonight. During Nashville’s last game, Saros set a new season high with 37 saves. Facing the top shot-making team tonight, Saros will likely have another busy evening.
Nashville took both games against Carolina last season. The Canes are seeking their first win over the Preds since February 18, 2022.
A couple of reminders: tonight is a 7:30 start and the game will not be broadcast on Bally.
Here’s how to check out the action:
- Time: 7:30 PM ET
- Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
- TV: ESPN+/Hulu, with play-by-play announcer Mike Monaco, analyst Ryan Callahan and between-the-benches reporter Blake Bolden.
- Radio: 99.9 The Fan
- Line: ML: CAR -166; PL: CAR -1.5 +145