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Carolina Hurricanes come alive late to top the Nashville Predators

Apr 17, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing Warren Foegele (13) battles for the puck against Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Jani Hakanpaa scored a tie-breaking goal in the third period in just his second game with the Carolina Hurricanes in a 3-1 victory against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Hakanpaa came on board in a trade Monday with the Anaheim Ducks. The defenseman hadn’t scored in any of his 42 appearances with the Ducks this season. This marked just his second goal in 49 career NHL games.

The go-ahead goal came with 11:05 remaining directly off a face-off won by Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck.

Jaccob Slavin scored Carolina’s first goal and Andrei Svechnikov added an empty-net goal with 1:51 to play. Roman Josi matched that with a second-period goal for Nashville.

Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves for the Hurricanes, who finished their longest homestand of the season with a 5-2-1 record.

Nedeljkovic hadn’t played since recording a shutout of the Florida Panthers on April 8 as the Hurricanes sort through three available goalies.

Nashville goalie Juuse Saros stopped 45 shots.

The Predators lost consecutive games for the first time since March 11 and 13, with one of those setbacks coming at Carolina.

Defensemen also recorded the first goals for each team.

Carolina had a torrid offensive pace in the opening period, but it didn’t find the net until Slavin converted with the team’s 24th shot on goal. Morgan Geekie patiently controlled the puck on the right side until Slavin cut toward the slot and was open for a shot that produced his second goal of the season.

The 24 first-period shots were the most for the Hurricanes in any period since November 2018.

After Nashville killed a Hurricanes power play, the Predators posted the tying goal on Josi’s spinning move.

Defenseman Erik Gudbranson made his Predators debut after arriving from the Ottawa Senators in a trade earlier in the week. Nashville also had center Matt Duchene back in action following a 22-game absence with a lower-body injury.

–Field Level Media