Svechnikov, Niederreiter help Hurricanes beat Predators 4-1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter each scored in the second period, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 Tuesday night.
Jordan Staal scored a goal in the first, and Sebastian Aho added a goal in the third and Justin Williamshad two assists as Carolina won its fourth straight in Nashville and seven of the last eight overall in this series. The Hurricanes also moved into the second wild card in the Eastern Conference, tying Columbus with 72 points with two games in hand.
Goalie Petr Mrazek made 28 saves and improved to 9-1-0 against the Predators.
Ryan Johansen scored a goal for the Predators, who snapped a three-game winning streak. Nashville hasn’t won four straight since October.
The Hurricanes brought their mothers with them for this quick road trip, and they attacked from the start — outshooting Nashville 6-1 with Staal’s eighth of the season on their sixth shot. He scored on a wrister after a trio of saves by goalie Juuse Saros 3:23 into the game.
“You don’t want to disappoint mom,” Williams said. “Dad gets angry, but mom just gets disappointed, right? We definitely didn’t want to do that. It gives you a little extra added inspiration for the game. I thought we played one of our most complete games, certainly since I’ve been here.”
It was Staal’s first goal in 12 games since Jan. 16.
“I’ve been fighting it for a while,” Staal said. “There’s no question, there’s no secret I need to be more offensive if we want to make a push. It was nice to get one tonight and be involved with that. Hopefully that will keep coming.”
Nashville went 0 for 4 on the power play. Mrazek made a pad save on Filip Forsberg’s breakaway attempt in the first after a turnover kicked by Carolina defenseman Joel Edmundson at the blue line, and Forsberg’s backhander went over the crossbar in the second on another breakaway chance.
“When we needed him to step up, he was big,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “He made a couple of saves on the penalty kill, which those are always big, big moments in the game. That’s what we need.”
Nashville coach John Hynes said he thought the Predators were slow and didn’t battle for the puck enough.
“Particularly, I thought our offensive intensity tonight was not close to where it needed to be,” Hynes said. “I thought our decisions on zone entries, when they had numbers back, we were trying to make plays and they would knock it down and go back the other way, so you don’t set yourself up to be able to play in the offensive zone.”
The Predators tied it 48 seconds into the second when Johansen backhanded the puck into the open net with Mrazek screened by Viktor Arvidsson in the crease. Carolina lost its challenge of goalie interference. But Kyle Turris went to the box for slashing Erik Haula, and Svechnikov scored 5 seconds into the man advantage despite the Hurricanes losing the faceoff with a wrister from the right circle at 3:45.
Niederreiter made it 3-1 at 8:02, beating Saros with a backhander for his ninth of the season. Saros had won five of his previous six starts with a .935 save percentage in that span.
Aho padded the lead 4:33 of the third with his 34th.
The only issue for the Hurricanes came with 5:53 left when defenseman Haydn Fleury spun around and went down awkwardly near the boards. He skated off favoring his right leg.
NOTES: Svechnikov stretched his points streak to eight games and joined Ron Francis, who did it twice in 1982-83 with Hartford, as the second teenager in franchise history to have multiple point streaks of eight games or more in a single season. Svechnikov now has five goals and five assists in this streak. ... Aho extended his point streak to 10 straight games with 10 goals and six assists. ... Nashville now is 8-16-4 when allowing the first goal and 3-15-2 when trailing after one period.
Hurricanes host the Rangers on Friday night.
Predators visit Chicago on Friday night.
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