Preds cruise past 'Canes in 5-2 win
Saturday, 01.07.2012 / 11:02 PM
Before Nashville faced Carolina on Saturday night, Predators coach Barry Trotz said he saw a lot of similarities between his team and the Kirk Muller-led Hurricanes.
"There's a couple of things that they're doing already that they've taken from us," Trotz told The Tennessean, referencing Muller's short stint before the season as coach of Nashville's AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.
That may be the case, but the Predators proved they still boast a decided advantage in one area: special teams.
Nashville eviscerated Carolina's penalty kill – which entered the day third-worst in the League – by scoring four power-play goals to hand the 'Canes a 5-2 loss at Bridgestone Arena.
scored a man-advantage goal on either side of the second intermission and Shea Weber
, Craig Smith
and Ryan Ellis
added goals of their own for Nashville (22-15-4). After failing to score on the advantage in five games, the Predators went 4-of-5 on the power play and recovered from a 4-1 loss to Dallas on Thursday to win for the fourth time in five games.
"I think we got away from our work ethic and execution - all of the little details that you need and then you also need a little bit of puck luck," Trotz said. "We had a little bit of all three tonight.
"The power play made a big statement coming back after a little bit of a dry spell. That's just what happens in the season sometimes."
The Hurricanes didn't ask many questions of Pekka Rinne
, but the goalie still made 27 saves to win for the 10th time in 13 starts.
scored both goals for Carolina (14-22-7), which was playing the tail end of a back-to-back. The 'Canes beat Buffalo 4-2 Friday night. With 35 points, Carolina remains just a point clear of the New York Islanders for last place in the Eastern Conference.
"We know you can't walk in here and give up four bad penalties in the offensive zone," Muller said. "Their power play has some skill that can hurt you again and again. They capitalized on it."
Nashville peppered Justin Peters
, making just his second start of the season, with 14 shots in the second, but the only score came with 2:56 remaining. Another tripping penalty on the 'Canes gave Hornqvist the space he needed to corral a Mike Fisher
long-range attempt in the low crease and finish past Peters.
Hornqvist bagged his second of the game – and 11th of the year – with Brandon Sutter
off for high-sticking. Martin Erat
fished a puck out from under Peters and flew it behind him in the crease, where a splayed Hornqvist shoved the puck over the line with an outstretched stick.
"If you keep going in front of the net sometimes good things happen," Hornqvist said. "The puck bounced my way. I got the scoring chances. ... We did a great job of taking the puck to the net. I like to be in front of the net. I'm not a skilled guy. It's my job to be in front of the net."
Two minutes later, Harrison pulled one back when he accepted a feed from Eric Staal
in the crease and fired it past Rinne at 8:35.
Ellis, who picked up his first career point with an assist on Hornqvist's first, quickly restored the four-goal advantage on a slap shot from the top of the right circle at 14:28 for his first career goal. Jussi Jokinen
went off for hooking, and some perimeter passing resulted in an open look for the defenseman, who did his best Weber impression with a bullet into the top corner.
"It was just good puck movement. Our power play seemed to be doing pretty well, moving the puck pretty well," Ellis said. "(Roman) Josi did a great job with the fake shot, kind of sucked in a couple of guys and it opened me up. I just tried to get it to the net."
Before it was all over, Harrison scored his fifth of the year when his power-play blast from the right corner was redirected into the net at 17:56.
Weber opened the scoring at 9:14 of the first in classic fashion, hammering home a slapper from near the blue line following a 'Canes turnover and some clean movement from Nashville. It was Weber's first point since returning from a concussion suffered on Dec. 23 against Dallas, and his seventh in seven games against Carolina. Four minutes later, with Chad LaRose
off for tripping, Legwand fed Smith with a nice cross-ice feed. The center scored his ninth of the year on a one-timer from the left circle.
Material from team and national media was used in this report.