The Nashville Predators had a really great game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. Mark Jankowski got one goal and an assist in the first period to help the Predators win 3-0. Goalie Juuse Saros saved 33 shots giving him his second shutout of the season and 20th of his career, allowing the Predators to gain another victory and stay alive in their chances of making playoffs.
The coach of the Nashville team said that their strong goalkeeping really helped them tonight and Juuse made some good saves. Michael McCarron scored to give Nashville a 2-0 lead in the beginning, while Dante Fabbro added an empty-net goal with only two minutes and forty-four seconds left. Spencer Stastney earned two assists which were also his first NHL points. Lastly, Saros got a bit of help at the right moment.
The referees made the call to cancel two goals in the last few minutes of the game. The first goal from Carolina’s Brady Skjei was taken back because Martin Necas was blocking the goalie, Saros, in the crease. Then, with less than 4 minutes left in the game, Brent Burns’ shot from outside the blue line had to be reversed due to an offsides call. After all this, Carolina’s coach Rod Brind’Amour declared it a hard night for his team.
“How many more tries do we have left?” Brind’Amour asked. “We had a lot of chances in the first and second periods to score, but didn’t make it. Then, we finally scored one and got called for goalie interference. That’s what kind of ruined our night.”
The Predators were not expected to make the playoffs due to many of their players getting injured and traded close to the deadline. On top of that, they announced that David Poile, who has been with the team since forever and is also the most successful general manager in NHL history, will be leaving them by June 30.
Nashville shocked the NHL’s best team, Boston, on March 28th and won the game in overtime. This victory puts them only one point below Winnipeg who is in a wild-card spot of the Western Conference. Moreover, they are just behind Calgary who is ahead of them by a single point. Plus, they have an extra game that they can use to make up for their deficit.
“It looks like a great challenge,” said Jankowski. “We know our situation, and we will prove ourselves against anyone. We are not afraid of competition; no matter who it is, we believe in our team.”
The Carolina team has achieved their goal of getting a spot in the playoffs. However, the Hurricanes are struggling to keep their first place spot in the Metropolitan Division from New Jersey who is now just 1 point behind them – though Carolina still has one game advantage.
Carolina’s Captain Jordan Staal said that they have the division on their side and everyone need to give a better effort if they want to win.
The Predators were tied for fifth among other NHL teams this season and scored the first goal in 43 games. Luke Evangelista got punished by being placed in the penalty box for throwing the puck over the glass, then Jankowski came through and scored a goal while shorthanded at 7:47.
He had an assist when McCarron made a deflection past Andersen’s goalie to score another 2-0 lead by 10:47.
The goalie won his second game against the Carolina this season, setting some career high records in the process. He faced 67 shots from Carolina and managed to make 64 saves!
Jake Livingstone is the sixth defenseman to join Nashville this season and partnered up with veteran Tyson Barrie for his first NHL debut. He’s soon turning 24 years old and signed a one-year deal last week after playing college hockey at Minnesota State.
Stastney just joined the team last weekend and he gave his first ever career assist on McCarron’s goal. His second assist was to help Fabbro’s goal.
The Hurricanes are going to Buffalo for their final road trip of the regular season this Saturday.
The Predators will decide if they get into the playoffs or not when they visit Winnipeg on Saturday night, then Calgary on Monday night.
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