Skinner's slapshot puts Canes on top 2-1
Posted January 5
Raleigh, N.C. — FINAL: Canes 2-Predators 1: Carolina won its fourth straight game Sunday night on a Jeff Skinner slapshot that put away the visiting Nashville Predators.
3:00 3rd: Canes 2-Predators 1: Jeff Skinner's slapshot put the home team back on top though they still trail in opportunities. Anton Khudobin has stopped 20 Nashville shots.
6:46 3rd, Canes 1-Predators 1: Nashville took advantage of the man advantage when Patric Hornqvist tapped in a power-play goal to tie the game.
2nd intermission, Canes 1-Predators 0: The Hurricanes and Predators traded shots and saves through the second period, and Nashville had the slight edge, with 23 shots through two periods, but nothing to show for them.
1st intermission, Canes 1-Predators 0: Within minutes of the puck drop, Alexander Semin had the home team on the board with help from Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu.
In goal, Anton Khudobin got the call and proved up to it, deflecting 10 shots in the first period.
Muller makes lineup changes
Carolina Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said Sunday that captain Eric Staal would miss at least one game and possibly as many as three or four. Staal left the game Saturday with a lower-body injury and could be out for five or six days. The Canes play on the road Tuesday (at Buffalo), host Toronto on Thursday and head to Columbus Friday night.
Expect Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu to see some time at center.
New call up Aaron Palushaj, elevated from the Charlotte Checkers Sunday afternoon, has some experience with Muller. He played in Montreal when Muller was an assistant there.
Pregame: The Carolina Hurricanes will aim for their first four- game winning streak since last season when they welcome the Nashville Predators for Sunday's battle at PNC Arena (7 p.m. FSN-TN, FSN-CAR / 99.9 The Fan ESPN Radio).
Carolina has matched a season-high with three consecutive wins and another victory tonight would give the club its first four-game winning streak since Feb. 28-March 5 of last season.
After winning two straight in overtime, the Hurricanes notched a 3-2 road regulation win Saturday against the New York Islanders. Brett Sutter scored the game winner in the second period as the Hurricanes held off the Islanders for at Nassau Coliseum.
The win did come at a cost, however, as captain Eric Staal left the game due to a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return. The star centerman, who leads the Hurricanes with 35 points in 42 games this season, expects to be a game-time decision on Sunday.
"He will get assessed tonight and hopefully we will know his status tomorrow," said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller.
Staal's younger brother, Jordan, added a goal in Saturday's win, as did Manny Malhotra, while Patrick Dwyer had a pair of assists for the Hurricanes. Anton Khudobin made 38 saves in the win.
With No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward still out with a lower-body issue, Justin Peters could get the start in net on Sunday. Otherwise, Khudobin will get the call on consecutive days.
After notching their last two wins on the road, the Hurricanes will try to keep heading in the right direction in today's home tilt. Carolina is 8-8-5 as the host this season.
While Carolina aims for its longest win streak of the season, the Predators hope to avoid a third straight loss on Sunday. Nashville is 0-0-2 so far in 2014, losing in overtime at Boston on Thursday before dropping a shootout decision Saturday at Florida.
Although the Predators lost for the seventh time in nine game on Saturday, the club did well to earn a point in the 5-4 setback against the Panthers. Nashville trailed 4-2 midway through the third period, but were able to rally to force overtime.
Seth Jones cut the deficit to 4-3 with 5:08 left in regulation and Paul Gaustad tied it with 47.1 seconds left after putting home a rebound of a Shea Weber shot from the point. However, Tomas Kopecky scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the extra point to the Panthers.
Craig Smith and Mike Fisher also scored in regulation for the Predators, while Marek Mazanec made 25 saves in the loss.
"Obviously it was good for us to come back," said Weber. "But we're digging ourselves holes and making mistakes we shouldn't be."
Nashville suffered its fourth straight road loss and will try to halt that streak when it closes a three-game swing tonight in Raleigh. The Preds are 8-10-3 as the visiting team this season.
Although Nashville has claimed seven of the last 10 meetings in the series against the Hurricanes, Carolina did notch a 5-2 road win over the Predators on Dec. 5. Jeff Skinner recorded a hat trick for the 'Canes in that lopsided win.
Carolina has won its last two tilts against Nashville following a six-game slide in the matchup.