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Recap: Canes Bounce Back to Top Predators

Power play strikes twice in 5-3 win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

NASHVILLE - Two power-play goals sparked the Carolina Hurricanes, who bounced back into the win column with a 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Nino Niederreiter contributed two goals, and Jordan Martinook's third-period marker was the difference in the Canes' sixth consecutive win against the Predators.

Here are five takeaways from Saturday night in Nashville.

One

Captain Justin Williams had this to say after the Hurricanes were embarrassed on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets by an 8-1 margin: "We've always answered the bell this year so far, and it's time to do it again."

Bell: answered.

Just as quickly as it happened, the Hurricanes were able to bury Friday night's lopsided result with a performance - and, most importantly, two points - much more indicative of the team.

"Two points. Absolutely," Williams said. "We played hard. We played it right from the onset, and we atoned from a dismal performance last night."

"I expected it," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "These guys have been really great all year with their effort."

Two

Just four minutes and 17 seconds had elapsed in Saturday's game by the time the Predators had taken a trio of penalties.

Unfortunately for the Canes, they came up empty on all three power plays, which included 95 seconds of 5-on-3 time that didn't produce much other than a few unscreened looks from the perimeter.

That could have easily sunk a fragile team early, especially with Nashville building momentum off three consecutive kills and feeding off the energy of their crowd.

But these Canes aren't so fragile, and they atoned for their power-play sins with two goals on the man advantage after that.

"They more than redeemed themselves," Brind'Amour said.

With just 31 seconds left in the first period, Niederreiter got a stick on a Teuvo Teravainen wrister, causing the puck to take a lively bounce off the ice and past Juuse Saros.

Video: CAR@NSH: Niederreiter pots second goal on power play

"The biggest key is to not get frustrated. Having a 5-on-3 and not getting a goal is definitely frustrating, but we've got to stick with the process," Niederreiter said. "We had some good, quality shots during that time and had to make sure we got it done at some point."

The Hurricanes entered the third period with a one-goal lead, 1:51 of power-play time and the opportunity to stretch their advantage back to two goals.

Go figure, then, that it was the captain scoring a clutch goal. Positioned in front of the net, Williams redirected another shot from Teravainen to give the Canes a 3-1 lead.

Video: CAR@NSH: Williams tips shot home on power play

"Huge. It gives you a little bit of breathing room," Williams said.

"Huge power-play goal by Justin to not put the game away but certainly give us some breathing room," Brind'Amour said.

Three

As Sheryl Crow predicted in the mid-1990s, a change did Niederreiter good.

In 22 games since being acquired by the Canes in mid-January, Niederreiter has totaled 11 goals, eclipsing the nine he scored in 46 games with the Minnesota Wild in the first half of the season. Four of Niederreiter's 22 games, including Saturday's match, have been multi-goal efforts.

"A change of scenery sometimes helps," he said. "I feel like the most important thing is the trust you get from the coaches and the belief in me. That's the biggest thing."

Just as the Canes rebounded as a team from a lackluster performance against Winnipeg the night prior, so too did Niederreiter course correct after eating a career worst minus-six.

"Our worst game of the year as a line last night, and I'm proud of the guys for answering the bell," Williams said. "Nino and Seabass did a great job tonight."

Niederreiter scored his first of two goals shortly after the Hurricanes dispatched the Predators' first power play of the game. He skated down the near wing, toe dragged toward the middle of the ice and sniped a perfectly-placed shot glove-side high on Saros to give the Canes a 1-0 lead.

Video: CAR@NSH: Niederreiter beats Saros glove side

"Nino got us going," Williams said. "He was just focused on shooting the puck."

Four

Each time the Predators trimmed the Canes' lead to a goal, Carolina would extend it right back.

Martinook's tally in the third period to give his team a 4-2 lead turned out to be the game-winner. It was a deft shot, as he slid a flat puck along the ice under a diving Saros for his 15th goal of the season.

Video: CAR@NSH: Martinook snaps rebound by Saros

"We know we need everyone to contribute," Brind'Amour said. "It was just a group effort."

"We made sure we found a way to keep the lead," Niederreiter said. "We stuck to our game plan, got pucks in deep and found a way to score goals."

Five

With each of his linemates finding the back of the net, Sebastian Aho didn't want to be left out. He pumped the puck into the empty net late in regulation for his 30th goal of the season, a new career high.

Video: CAR@NSH: Aho scores empty-net goal to seal win

"They were the difference. They came out and asserted themselves," Brind'Amour said of his team's first line. "They led the charge, for sure."

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