RALEIGH, N.C. – The cheerful after-effects of a satiating meal and celebrating Thanksgiving dinner together didn’t last long unfortunately.
Two days after suffering a road loss in New York, the Carolina Hurricanes fell behind in the first period and couldn’t recover, again.
A 31-save performance by goaltender Pekka Rinne, the 2018 Vezina Trophy winner, handed the Hurricanes a 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators in front of a sold out crowd at PNC Arena on Friday.
Carolina starter Petr Mrazek saw 28 shots come his way as the Predators ended a six-game game losing streak against the Canes.
It wasn’t for a lack of effort, but a performance that just wasn’t sharp enough to beat a talented team that has struggled during the first quarter of the season.
In addition to Rinne blanking them, goals from Rocco Grimaldi, Calle Jarnkrok and Austin Watson was enough to post the win.
“It’s tough, I thought the start was perfect,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“Those eight minutes, we had two or three great looks, didn’t get them in. They high-flip one out of their zone and breakaway into the net and kinda took the wind out of our sails.”
It’s about the little things
While outshooting the Predators early, Rinne’s ability to stop successive scoring attempts from Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal sent the message that the keeper was ready.
The lack of pace on the forecheck and minimal aggressiveness (just 13 hits) in defending by Carolina allowed Nashville to gain and maintain puck possession.
A giveaway and loose coverage allowed the Predators to lead 2-0 after the first.
“You know they don’t give up much, they’re a stingy team,” Brind’Amour added.
“We did have looks, but we didn’t put it in.”
Brind’Amour didn’t like the power play which went scoreless.
“It wasn’t on tonight,” Staal added.
An opportunity late in the first couldn’t convert.
Watson’s redirect early in the second period made the task that more daunting.
“We could have been better, especially on the power play, maybe get us back into it, and get some life in the building. The fans kind of, and rightfully so, leaked out as we did in the third, and couldn’t generate enough to get our game rumbling again.”
Playing their sixth back-to-back set of the season, the Hurricanes travel to Tampa Bay and face a “high-level team” on Saturday.
They’ll try to even up a 2-3 record in back-end games.
“We need to bring the same start,” alternate captain Jordan Martinook noted.
“Hopefully get a bounce here or there, try and play with the lead. It’s been a little bit since we did that. Get one early – just try and get some goals, and we’ll be fine.”
Notables: Carolina finished 0-3 on the power play, 17-81 (21%) overall…On the PK, the Hurricanes went 4-4, 76-90 (84.4%) overall…Clark Bishop made his NHL season debut with the Hurricanes after being recalled from Charlotte (AHL).
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