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Recap: Canes Storm Past Predators

Moms cheer sons on to 4-1 victory in Nashville

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

NASHVILLE - With their moms cheering them on, the Carolina Hurricanes put forth one of their most complete performances of the season in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators.

Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov both extended their point streaks, and Petr Mrazek made 28 saves.

Here are five takeaways from the Music City.

1. Mothers Know Best

"You don't want to disappoint mom," Justin Williams smiled after the game. "Dad gets angry. Mom just gets disappointed, right? We definitely didn't want to do that."

Tweet from @Canes: "Proud effort. Moms are proud for sure."

With a suite full of moms cheering and chanting and offering their assessments of various plays through the game - at one point, Warren Foegele was shoved down behind the net, and the response from the moms was "That's not nice!" - the Hurricanes responded with one of their most complete wins of the season.

From the drop of the puck, the Canes had an edge on the Predators. They grabbed an early lead, reclaimed it in the second after briefly losing it and fortified the score the rest of the way.

"I thought from the outset our mentality was good," Williams said. "Sometimes you have a good sense of the dressing room and where it is. It's time to get this going in the right direction."

Tweet from @Canes: The moms were PUMPED to get the early lead

"There was lots of energy tonight. The guys wanted to put on a good show," Jordan Staal said. "Everyone was involved tonight. Everyone played a great game."

That's the blueprint of what makes the Canes successful.

"That was a great effort, right from the start. I thought we were engaged, everybody. We got a great effort from all 20 guys," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Everybody was digging in, making some good plays and battling when they had to battle. That's a pretty good effort."

"We're not here just to play. We're here to compete," Williams said. "The table's set. The stage is set for the last 20 games to have a race. We've just got to win our games. I don't care that we're in the best division in hockey with the most points. Just win our games, and we'll be fine."

2. The Big Man Starts It Off

Marlene Reimer made a surprise appearance in the locker room prior to the game to read out the starting lineup, and she nailed it.

In fact, you could argue that energy is what fueled the Canes' first goal of the game, scored by the line she announced.

Williams hit Staal with a centering feed, and Staal banged it in for his eighth of the season. It was a much-needed tally for him - he last scored on Jan. 16 - and a much-needed tally for the Canes - who are now 24-3-2 when scoring first this season.

Video: CAR@NSH: Staal buries Williams' feed to open scoring

"I've been fighting it for a while. There's no question or secret, I need to be more offensive if we're going to make a push," Staal said. "It was nice to get one tonight and be involved with that. Hopefully that will keep coming."

3. The Turning Point

The turning point in the game arguably came in the first four minutes of the second period.

The Predators scored a goal just 48 seconds into the middle frame, when Ryan Johansen juggled a bouncing puck on his blade and tapped it in out of midair.

The Canes challenged for goaltender interference, and it looked as though they had a good argument, as Viktor Arvidsson was parked squarely in the crease and seemed to prevent Petr Mrazek from moving laterally across the crease in attempt to deny Johansen.

The officials, upon review, did not agree with that assessment, and the original call on the ice stood.

"I felt that the guy was in the crease and impeded Petr's ability to make a play on the tip. That, to me, is pretty clear. That's what I see," Brind'Amour said. "This is the problem with this kind of rule. Nobody really knows."

The game was tied, and the Canes were then tasked with killing a penalty due to the failed challenge.

They did so, a big kill from a man disadvantage that was a perfect 4-for-4 on the night.

"That's a big time in the game, and we got a big kill out of that," Brind'Amour said.

The Canes were then rewarded with a power play of their own. Carolina lost the initial draw, but Williams chased down the puck behind the net and fed Andrei Svechnikov, who was wide-open at the right dot. Svechnikov let go of a blistering wrister that beat a screened Juuse Saros to the far side. Five seconds into their power play, the Canes had reclaimed a lead, 2-1.

Video: CAR@NSH: Svechnikov nets far-side wrister for PPG

"That's the complete game," Staal said. "PK did a great job tonight. We were a little more aggressive, I think, in finding ways to get the puck out of our end quicker. A quick goal by Svechy and a great play by Willy on the PP to get us back into it right after a tough goal against."

Tweet from @Canes: Svech's goal got the moms on their feet!

"The penalty kill was great tonight, and then scoring right off that was big, too," Williams said. "I didn't think they had much at the time. They scored a goal off a weird bounce, but we took it right back and didn't really relent."

4. Extending Point Streaks

With his goal, Svechnikov extended his point streak to eight games (5g, 5a), and the Canes improved to 28-9-1 when he records a point (and 6-12-3 when he's held scoreless) this season.

And, don't forget Sebastian Aho, the center of the Canes' most dynamic line. Early in the third period, Aho collected a rebound and stretched his team's lead to 4-1 with his career-best 34th goal of the season.

Video: CAR@NSH: Aho lifts own rebound over Saros in front

Aho now has points in 10 straight games (10g, 6a).

5. The Moms

The Hurricanes' moms are a delightful bunch. The trip began on Monday with a happy hour on Broadway prior to a team dinner.

On Tuesday, the moms went to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a songwriting experience, and the trip was capped with them cheering their boys on to a 4-1 victory.

Tweet from @Canes: The moms are surging!

A Canes win isn't complete without a surge, either. And, as the players left the ice, they waved to their moms in the suite.

Up Next

A back-to-back weekend set awaits the Hurricanes, who host the Rangers on Friday before heading to Toronto on Saturday.

Perhaps the moms should stay.

"Maybe we'll keep them around," Staal smiled. "I'm sure a few of them we'll stay for the Rangers came, and we'll keep the ball rolling here."

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