Alex Nedeljkovic made 32 saves and the Carolina Hurricanes were constantly in penalty-killing mode in a 3-0 victory against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of their Central Division series Wednesday night in Raleigh, N.C.
The Hurricanes hold a 2-0 series lead, though they had to navigate numerous challenges after scoring on Sebastian Aho’s goal slightly more than eight minutes into the game. Aho also scored an empty-net goal with 52.1 seconds remaining, and Warren Foegele tacked on another with 28 seconds left.
The game proved to be a test of Carolina’s special teams, with the Hurricanes killing six penalties across the first two periods and seven for the game.
Game 3 is Friday night in Nashville.
Predators goalie Juuse Saros made 28 saves.
Nashville has never won a playoff series after losing the opener – 0-11 in those situations — and the Predators head home in a 0-2 hole.
Nedeljkovic, who had three shutouts in the regular season, was up to the challenge. In the third period, he stopped Luke Kunin’s attempt when the Hurricanes were out of position in front of him.
Nashville hadn’t been shut out in its last 15 games, dating back to April 10 of the regular season.
Carolina opened the scoring on a first-period power play. Aho converted off a pass from Andrei Svechnikov. Dougie Hamilton also recorded an assist on the play.
Aho has 26 career playoff points in 25 postseason games.
The first period ended with a 1-0 score despite four penalties on the Hurricanes. Nashville held a 15-10 edge in second-period shots, yet neither team scored in the period.
On the seventh penalty kill, the Hurricanes nearly converted a short-handed situation in the third period, but Aho was off the mark on a breakaway chance.
Carolina was 3-for-3 on penalty kills in the first game of the series.
The Hurricanes played without defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who was injured in the second-to-last regular-season game and returned for Game 1 of the playoffs.
–Field Level Media