|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET20:00 BRT, April 15, 2021
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina Attendance: 4,987
Hurricanes look for bounce-back win vs. surging Predators
Nashville Predators at Carolina Hurricanes
- The Hurricanes have outscored the Predators 16-7 in winning the season's first four meetings, and have won 11 of 12 matchups since the start of the 2016-17 season. In the last matchup on March 11, Carolina took control by scoring three goals in a 2:21 span in the first period en route to a 5-1 victory.
- The Hurricanes are coming off back-to-back home defeats to the last-place Red Wings, losing 3-1 Monday. They permitted three third-period goals Monday and have allowed 47 goals in the third period this season compared to 23 in the first. That difference of 24 goals from the first period to the third is the largest in the NHL.
- Jordan Staal had a goal in Saturday's loss to the Red Wings and notched an assist Monday in his 1000th career game. Prior to those defeats, the Hurricanes had been 15-0-1 in games when Staal recorded a point.
- The Predators beat the Lightning, 7-2, on Tuesday to improve to 13-3-0 since March 15. The Preds had just 22 shots on goal Tuesday making it just the second time in franchise history they had 7+ goals on 22 or fewer shots, along with February 18, 2004, when they beat the Sharks 7-3 on 20 shots.
- Tuesday marked the third time in the last 11 games Nashville reached the seven-goal mark. Only one of the 21 goals from those three games have come on the power play.
- Filip Forsberg is second on the Predators with 116 shots on goal but has been limited to two shots or fewer in each of his last six games. He has only one longer streak of consecutive games with two shots or fewer in his career -- a seven-game stretch from October 27-November 10, 2016.
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The Carolina Hurricanes have looked like one of the best teams in the NHL at times this season, excusing their past few contests.
The Nashville Predators suddenly look like a playoff-caliber team as well.
The teams match up for the fifth time this season Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.
"It's a great time of year. There's a lot to play for," Predators coach John Hynes said. "We're in a fight for the fourth playoff spot (in the Central Division)."
The Predators are 5-1-0 across their last six games. That includes a 7-2 whipping of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. That was the second game in a four-game stretch that Nashville has racked up seven goals.
The Hurricanes -- at least for now -- are one of three teams battling for the top spot in the division despite back-to-back setbacks to the Detroit Red Wings.
Carolina will be aiming to bounce back not just from defeats, but from some ragged stretches on the ice.
"This is the one game where I was like, 'That was gross,' to a man," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said of Monday night's 3-1 loss, saying that in two and a half years in his position, "That's the first game I feel that way about a game. We just didn't bring it. That's a rough one for us."
Other than goalie James Reimer, who was solid in his first outing in more than a week, Brind'Amour said there weren't the types of performances that were good enough, and Carolina players seemed to realize that.
"The way we came out and played (Monday night's) game was no good," forward Nino Niederreiter said.
Nashville and Carolina were active at the trade deadline earlier in this week, addressing topics at the blue line.
The Predators dealt for veteran defenseman Erik Gudbranson in a trade with the Ottawa Senators.
"We thought if we could add a defenseman to help us with depth," Hynes said, hoping to see the team's penalty killing improve. "We felt like with his track record with that, that it's a spot he can really help us."
Even before adding Gudbranson, there was a boost in that area.
"We've added a little bit more pressure," Hynes said. "There's just much more detail to it from the players and a commitment level and confidence to it, and that makes a big difference."
The Hurricanes acquired defenseman Jani Hakanpaa from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Haydn Fleury.
"A little something that we don't have. A little bit more sandpaper to our game," Brind'Amour said of bringing Hakanpaa on board. "I think we got a little better on the backside. That's what we needed."
The Hurricanes will look for upgrades in play on special teams after some shortcomings in recent games in those areas.
Nashville's Tanner Jeannot scored his first NHL goal Tuesday, and he has received praise when added to the lineup.
"He has really bought into how he needs to play," Hynes said.
Jeannot said the Predators seem to be in a good groove.
"It was pretty obvious, everybody was buying into the systems and working together," Jeannot said.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 14, 2021