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game recap

Predators 2, Hurricanes 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Paul Branecky

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Predators 2, Hurricanes 1
Nashville Predators 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1

The Hurricanes may not have won for the second consecutive home exhibition match, but with roster cuts looming, a handful of players were able to improve their stock with strong individual performances.

In sharp contrast to the early meltdown that cost them against Florida on Tuesday, the Canes led in the first period on a Patrick O’Sullivan goal before dropping an eventual 2-1 decision to Nashville at the RBC Center on Friday. Nashville scored twice in the second period and was able to stave off a late rally attempt by Carolina to secure the win. 

Much like in the first game, O’Sullivan was again a standout at forward. The winger, hoping to make the team after signing a two-way contract one week ago, scored on a five-on-three power play when Anton Babchuk uncharacteristically passed up a shot from the point, instead sending the puck laterally to O’Sullivan, whose low shot made it through a well-placed Brandon Sutter screen and into the net.

“I’m trying to show what I can do and show a level of consistency,” said O’Sullivan, who now has two goals and one assist in three preseason games. “I think I’ve played some decent games here.”

O’Sullivan also scored in the first leg of the home-and-home, back-to-back series with the Predators on Thursday, but did not earn rave reviews from coach Paul Maurice due to his overall performance, particularly on his own end. However, the Canes’ bench boss saw Friday’s contest as a bounce-back performance.

“When you talk to him, he understands that scoring a goal doesn’t mean you played a great game, but at the end of the day, if you can not play a great game and find a way to score, that’s pretty darn good,” said Maurice. “There is such an upside because of his hands.”

“I know what’s expected of me here, and for a player that’s a good thing,” said O’Sullivan. “I’m getting feedback that’s going to help me improve.”

O’Sullivan’s goal was cancelled out at the 7:45 mark of the second period due to a puckhandling mistake by goaltender Justin Pogge, who was making his first start in a Hurricanes uniform. Pogge intentionally left a puck behind his net for a defenseman to pick up, but it was instead retrieved by Nashville’s David Legwand, who tied the game on an easy wraparound attempt.

It wasn’t the first adventurous play of the period by Pogge, who also managed to recover from an earlier clear up the boards that was intercepted by the opposition thanks to a strong save made well outside of his crease. However, despite that stint, he actually made several good passing plays throughout the rest of the evening.

“I know that people will look at the handoff goal, but I thought that our goaltender was good tonight,” said Maurice. “In the first period, he was one of the reasons we broke the puck out well.”

Pogge finished with 14 saves on an evening in which just 28 total shots were taken by both teams.

Within five minutes of the Legwand goal, Jordin Tootoo scored the go-ahead goal as the last man in a three-on-two against the Hurricanes’ defensive pair of Anton Babchuk and Jay Harrison. Nashville’s Matt Halischuk carried the puck up the right side and was looking for a centering feed, but instead dropped it back to Tootoo, whose blast beat Pogge over the left shoulder.

No player had better chances to tie the game late than recent first-round pick Jeff Skinner, who of all young players undoubtedly took the largest leap forward from his first to second game. With approximately two minutes remaining, Skinner’s attempt from in front was blocked by goaltender Anders Lindback, who replaced Dekanich halfway through the evening. Moments later, Skinner was again thwarted on a wraparound attempt.

“He gets that shot in the slot, those are going to go in for him,” said Maurice, who added that Skinner is expected to play in Atlanta on Saturday. “He’s a goal scorer.”

“It’s nice to have the coaches show that confidence in you, and it’s really nice be out there with the game on the line and try to make a difference,” said Skinner, who played on both wings Friday after lining up at center in his first game. “Unfortunately I couldn’t get one, but maybe next time.”

The Canes got one more last-gasp chance to equalize when the Predators’ Joel Ward was whistled for high sticking with just 10.8 left on the clock and the faceoff set for their offensive zone. Jokinen, who received a scare earlier in the game after a knee-on-knee hit from Francis Bouillion but emerged unscathed, won the faceoff and created a chance for Brandon Sutter, but Lindback was up to the task.

With the exception of Skinner, the Hurricanes are planning to bring a slew of veterans with them to Atlanta, which should be the norm from hereon out. The first wave of assignments to Charlotte is expected to take place over the weekend.

The Canes only reported injury of the night was to defenseman Bryan Rodney, who left the game with a contusion and is considered day-to-day.

scoring summary
1st Period
PPG - Patrick O'Sullivan (1) Slapshot - ASST: Anton Babchuk (1), Jeff Skinner (1)
1 - 0 CAR
2nd Period
David Legwand (1) Wrap-around - ASST: NONE
1 - 1 Tie
Jordin Tootoo (1) Slapshot - ASST: Matt Halischuk (1)
2 - 1 NSH
3rd Period
penalty summary
1st Period
Brett Carson  Holding  - 2 min against  Matt Halischuk
Aaron Johnson  Holding  - 2 min against  Patrick O'Sullivan
Jonas Andersson  Too many men/ice - bench  - 2 min
2nd Period
Bobby Sanguinetti  Holding  - 2 min against  Jordin Tootoo
3rd Period
Francis Bouillon  Kneeing  - 2 min against  Jussi Jokinen
Chad LaRose  Roughing  - 2 min against  Francis Bouillon
Francis Bouillon served by Jordin Tootoo  Roughing  - 2 min against  Chad LaRose
Jerred Smithson  Tripping  - 2 min against  Brandon Sutter
Joel Ward  Hi-sticking  - 2 min against  Tim Gleason
goalie stats
Mark Dekanich
Mark Dekanich
SA: 7TOI: 29:11
GA: 1SV%: .857
Anders Lindback
Anders Lindback
SA: 15TOI: 30:49
GA: 0SV%: 1.000
Justin Pogge
SA: 27TOI: 59:46
GA: 2SV%: .926