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Predators overpower Hurricanes, 4-2

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators scored three third period goals to come from behind and defeat the visiting Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Sunday evening's preseason match-up at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.


The 14,211 fans in attendance got a first look at summer free-agent signee Paul Kariya, who notched an assist in his first preseason game. "We had a really good crowd tonight," Kariya said. "There was a lot of good atmosphere in the rink."


Other familiar names like David Legwand, Scott Walker and Martin Erat filled the scoresheet for the Predators, who pushed their preseason record to three wins and one loss.


The Predators put pressure on Carolina early, with Kariya generating two quality scoring chances around the four-minute mark of the opening period. The first came after he stripped a Hurricanes defenseman of the puck just inside Carolina's defensive zone. Kariya then skated in alone on goaltender Martin Gerber, who stopped that shot and another Kariya chance moments later. At the other end, Predators netminder Chris Mason made a superb save on an opportunity by Hurricanes center Rod Brind'amour.


Neither team was able to put a point on the scoreboard until Carolina's Erik Cole notched an unassisted goal at 16:57. Less than two minutes later, a routine dump-in by Nashville took a weird bounce off the corner boards and allowed the Predators to retrieve the puck. Within seconds, Kariya fired a cross-ice pass from the right half-boards to a streaking Legwand, and Legwand directed a shot past Gerber to knot the game at 1-1.


The early minutes of Period 2 included two more key saves by Mason and another short breakaway attempt for Kariya, who pounced on a loose puck just inside the offensive zone only to be stopped by Gerber. Carolina regained the lead, 2-1, midway through the period on a power play goal by Josef Vasicek.


Erat tied it up again for Nashville at 4:12 of the third, with a goal that was set up by Legwand and Darcy Hordichuk. The Predators took the lead for good while on the power play roughly three minutes later, as Walker received an across-the-goal-crease pass from Yanic Perreault and put the puck between a sliding Gerber and the left post.


"[Perreault] is able to see the game slowly due to his experience, as opposed to a young player who sees it so fast," Trotz said. "He made a great pass to Walker for the goal."


With 1:30 remaining on the clock and Gerber off the ice for an extra attacker, Walker returned the favor to Perreault by setting him up for an empty netter that solidified the win for Nashville.


Carolina outshot the Predators 42 to 29 for the game. Mason, who played the first 30 minutes, was peppered with 27 shots and stopped 25 of them. Vokoun was perfect during his stint between the pipes, allowing no goals on the 15 shots he faced.


The win was tempered by an injury to defenseman Jamie Allison, who was injured when his neck struck the goal post in the final minute of play. After being removed from the ice on a stretcher, he was taken to the hospital for X-rays. He was conscious and had feeling in his extremities as he left the ice.


A shootout exhibition again followed regulation play, as the National Hockey League continues to showcase this season's tie-breaking feature after all preseason games. Nashville defenseman Marek Zidlicky netted the only goal in the three-round event, scoring on a shot from the hashmarks to end the shootout, 1-0.


After playing four games in five nights, the Predators' next game is 7 p.m. Thursday at the GEC, when they'll face the Atlanta Thrashers in the first half of a preseason home-and-home series. The game will be broadcast on 104.5 The Zone, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6 p.m.

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