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Post-Game Musings: at Carolina

by Doug Brumley / Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators lost in regulation for the first time since Feb. 17 Tuesday night, falling 4-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. Nashville was undone by its own uncharacteristically high number of penalties, giving a hot Carolina power play six attempts and two power play goals.

Nashville got on the board first with a goal by Craig Smith 4:15 into the game. Jamie McBain answered less than three minutes later for the Hurricanes to send the game into the first intermission 1-1. Preds forward Colin Wilson broke the tie 12:31 into the second period but Carolina’s power play struck twice before the second intermission to claim a 3-2 lead.

Nashville’s power play, ranked second in the league entering the game, was unable to convert on its only chance Tuesday. To add insult, Carolina’s lone penalized player, Bryan Allen, stepped out of the penalty box and into a breakaway that he smacked home to put his team up 4-2 at the 1:28 mark of the third. Gabriel Bourque tallied for the Predators 50 seconds later to give the visitors hope, but no more of their 16 third-period shots would find their way past Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward.

The Predators, now 37-20-7 for the season, return home for a few days before their next game, a road contest against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Undisciplined: Coming into Tuesday’s game, the Predators ranked second in the league in fewest penalties taken per game (averaging 8.8 minutes in the penalty box). Against Carolina, Nashville took six minors for a total of 12 minutes. That put considerable strain on a penalty killing unit that had stopped all 12 chances it had faced over the past seven games. The Hurricane’s power play wasted little time both times it converted Tuesday, tallying 12 seconds into the man advantage once, and 11 seconds the next time.

AK46: Andrei Kostitsyn, acquired from Montreal on Monday, made his Predators debut Tuesday in Raleigh wearing No. 46. He played 12:13, lining up primarily alongside David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist. Paul Gaustad, who was also acquired by Nashville on Monday, was sidelined Tuesday with an upper-body injury. He will wear No. 28. With Andrei Kostitsyn added to the lineup, Brandon Yip was the healthy scratch for Nashville.

Lindback in Net: Anders Lindback, Nashville’s backup netminder, got the start Tuesday night in Raleigh after playing just once in the past 17 games. He stopped 29 of 33 Hurricanes shots in the loss, which amounted to his sixth straight. His last win came in a split performance with Pekka Rinne in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2011. The Predators are now 3-5-0 this season in the second half of back-to-back games.

Shea Weber: “That’s a quick team. No disrespect to them. They played great. But we didn’t bring our game at all and it was too late in the third to try and get back.”

1) F, Eric Staal (CAR): 1 goal, 2 assists, 57 percent on faceoffs
2) F, Gabriel Bourque (NSH): 1 goal, 1 assist, +2, 4 shots, 3 hits
3) F, Jeff Skinner (CAR): 2 assists, won 7 of 11 faceoffs

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