Analysis from Raleigh
→ Jeff Skinner tallied two goals and Eddie Lack made 27 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes bested the Nashville Predators, 4-2.
"I thought we were dangerous," head coach Bill Peters said. "I thought we had some really good looks. I liked the way we managed the puck. I thought we played very well. We got contributions from all four lines and started the game on time. … I thought the guys were ready to play."
Video: Skinner's two goals lead 'Canes past Predators, 4-2
→ Skinner loves playing the Nashville Predators, apparently.
After a two-goal performance tonight that nearly turned into a hat trick affair after the puck loudly rang off the crossbar and kicked out of play in the third period, Skinner has eight goals and six assists in 11 career games against Nashville.
"He's an offensive guy," Peters said. "When he competes and plays the game right, he gets rewarded."
Skinner's first tonight stretched the Hurricanes' lead to two goals in the first period. Lee Stempniak hurried goaltender Juuse Saros behind the net, thieved the puck and then fed Skinner in the slot. Skinner finished with a well-placed snap shot in the top corner.
In the second period, Skinner's team-leading 25th goal of the season restored the Canes' two-goal advantage. Skinner was jostling with defenseman Ryan Ellis at the top of the blue paint when Jaccob Slavin sent the puck toward the net. Skinner won the battle, located the loose puck and backhanded it in.
"Slavs made a nice play to me. I missed the first tip, and fortunately it bounced the right way off him and I was able to put it in," Skinner said of what proved to be the game-winning goal. "It's always nice to be able to contribute."
"That was great hand-eye coordination off the foot," Peters said. "And where was he when he scores it? At the net. You have to get to the net at this league."
→ The Hurricanes had about as good of a start as they could have hoped for tonight, scoring on the very first shift just 29 seconds into the game, the quickest the team has scored its first goal this season. Slavin had the point shot, a puck that skittered along the glass-like ice, and while parked in the slot, Jordan Staal redirected it through Saros' five-hole.
"We got off to a good start. Jordo's line got us going. He got a big goal for us to start the game," Skinner said. "We were able to build off it. A lot good things, and we want to try to keep building."
Video: Hear from Skinner, Lack, Staal, and Peters Postgame
→ Eddie Lack made his second consecutive start in net tonight after making 30 saves on 31 shots against Minnesota on Thursday. He turned in another solid performance against another talented Central Division team tonight, making 27 saves on 29 shots en route to stringing together consecutive wins for the first time this season.
"I was seeing the puck very well," Lack said. "I felt like it was a little more like desperation last game and a little more in control today."
"Great for him. Outstanding. I thought he was real good," Peters said of Lack. "He looks solid. He's in control and big. I thought he was good, real good."
And tomorrow night?
"I'll just say I don't know yet, but I'll tell you what, he's playing real well," Peters said, getting ahead of the question. "Credit to him."
"I'm not thinking too much out there," Lack said. "I just want to go out, play and help my team."
→ Things got interesting late, as Filip Forsberg tallied a goal with the extra attacker out in the final two minutes of the game. Then, Victor Rask was whistled for a careless slashing penalty, and the Preds, once they pulled their goaltender again, had a 6-on-4 advantage. Lack and the Canes held strong, though, and skated away with the two points.
→ It's now time for the Hurricanes to hit the road, where they'll travel up and down the East coast twice. The four-game leg begins tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
"It's a huge game tomorrow. We've got to put a couple together in a row on the road, and it's been a little harder for us there," Lack said. "It's going to be a fun, challenging week coming up."
"Real happy with the way we're playing," Peters said. "Now we've got to take this on the road and continue to find out about ourselves."