The preseason record at home has finished spotless.
Mattias Ekholm scored twice and Pekka Rinne stopped all 32 shots he faced as the Nashville Predators shut out the Carolina Hurricanes by a 3-0 final on Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
The result in the penultimate preseason contest moves the Preds to 4-1-0 in the exhibition slate, with the lone blemish coming on the road in Tampa Bay.
Nashville admitted Carolina was the better team from the opening puck drop on Wednesday, but as the game went along, the momentum started to shift into the home team's favor. Both of Ekholm's goals came in the final frame - Nashville's best stanza of the night - and by the time it was over, the Preds found themselves back in the win column once more.
"We took over more and more, certainly in the third," Ekholm said. "We had a ton of chances, and we were able to bury two of them, so it was good. It's still preseason and teams are trying to find their way, and so are we, but wins are always fun."
"[It was a] good game by us," Rinne said. "It was just a solid effort, and I think that our game got better as the game went along… There's a lot of good things going on for us right now."
Video: CAR@NSH: Smith dekes, nets PPG off Turris' great pass
It took until the final minute of the second period for someone to find the back of the net, but on the power play, Kyle Turris spotted Craig Smith in the slot, and the winger roofed a shot past Carolina goaltender Anton Forsberg for a 1-0 lead.
In the third, Ryan Ellis got a friendly bounce when his centering feed deflected in off the visor of Ekholm and skittered into the cage to give Nashville a two-goal advantage, a unique way to score, to say the least.
Video: CAR@NSH: Ekholm redirects puck into the net
"That guy is full of surprises," Rinne laughed when asked about Ekholm's first tally. "He's feeling it right now."
Just minutes later, Ekholm finished off a nifty passing play that was set up by linemates Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund for his second of the evening.
Video: CAR@NSH: Ekholm slips puck through five-hole
Rinne shut the door for the rest of the night to bounceback from a performance on Saturday that saw him allow four goals against the Lightning in a 5-4 overtime win. The veteran netminder says he still appreciates the opportunity to get into game shape in the preseason, and his teammates don't mind watching him perform, either.
"It's almost like you forget how good he is because he's that good all the time," Ekholm said of Rinne. "An unbelievable performance as you said as usual, and it seems like he's in midseason form already."
From here, the Predators will practice on Thursday before travelling to Carolina for their final preseason contest - and the final chance for coaches and management to evaluate those vying for a coveted NHL roster spot.
"There's a lot of conversations that will go on between [General Manager] David Poile and myself and the coaching staff," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "We've got guys that have played really well to this point, and that's a positive. We've had guys play really well that we sent to Milwaukee, and that's a positive as well. So, we'll work through it and we'll find the right mix."
Video: Ekholm nets two in Predators' 3-0 win vs. Hurricanes
Yannick Weber, Filip Forsberg, Colton Sissons, Matt Irwin, Roman Josi and Frederick Gaudreau were scratched for the Predators on Wednesday night.
Nashville's final preseason game of 2019 comes Friday night in Carolina against the Hurricanes (at 6:30 p.m. CT). After that, the Predators will have until 4 p.m. CT on Oct. 1 to take their current 26-man roster down to 23 before Opening Night.
The 2019-20 regular season begins next Thursday when the Predators host Minnesota to start a four-game homestand.