After getting spanked the night before, 5-1, against the same Nashville Predators in Music City, the Canes ended the preseason with a good, not great, 4-1 win to close the preseason with a 3-3 record. In Smashville, the Canes had mostly PTO players and prospects in the lineup while the Preds had a veteran-stacked team. Ryan Suzuki gave the Canes the early lead, which lasted only 38 seconds. After the game was tied at 1-1, the Pred veterans smelled blood and really took command of the game. A great learning experience for the prospects, and unfortunately, no PTO player played well enough to earn a roster spot.
Teravainen Nets Powerplay Goal
The rematch in Raleigh the next night had all the makings of a regular season game. One little twist Coach Rod Brind’Amour did was play 7 defensemen and only 11 forwards. The Preds also had more veterans in their lineup, which got stronger in the offseason and will be a formidable team this year.
The Canes again got on the board first with an efficient and best-looking powerplay goal of the preseason, from Teuvo Teravainen. The first powerplay unit had the puck in the Preds’ end for nearly 65 seconds before play was stopped. The second unit came out with 4 forwards and one defender, newcomer Dimitry Orlov. Martin Necas won the draw, pulling the puck back to Orlov, who held the puck, waiting for teammates to get in position. With Stephan Noesen and Jesperi Kotkaniemi creating excellent traffic at the top of the crease, Orlov passed to Turbo on the left point, picked the far upper corner, and wristed a wicked shot to put the Canes up 1-0. A great-looking powerplay, and hopefully, both the powerplay and Turbo continue that success into the season.
The first period ended at 1-0, but the in-game stats could be misleading. It showed the Preds had possession about 2 minutes longer than the Canes. All true, but double-clicking on possession shows the Preds had double the amount of time the Canes had in their D-zone. Forechecking forces the defense to work to clear or lose a puck in their own end. The Canes’ patented forechecking was in midseason form, as was the efficiency of the Canes’ defense in clearing the puck from their end. The visiting team’s radio booth is behind where I sit.
One comment their play-by-play announcer said was, ‘every time the Canes get the puck and it looks like a broken play, they make something happen. Very impressive.’ Interpretation: Rod Brind’Amour hockey.
Late in the period, the bench got called for ‘abuse of an official.’ Can’t be sure of this, but newcomer Michael Bunting did the time in the box and could have been the guilty party. Brind’Amour will get very animated during a game when things aren’t going to his liking, but this was preseason, and he knows there’s no upside to being really vocal now, so my guess is Bunting was the guilty party, plus his reputation might be a factor. That has to get under control if that was what happened. To make matters worse, Sebastian Aho got called for hooking just 39 seconds later, giving the Preds a 2-man advantage.
Jarvis Puts Canes Back On Top With Snipe Shot
To start the second period, the Canes killed off both penalties with actually having the better chances to score. Impressive penalty kill with Brent Burns, Jaccob Slavin, Brady Skjei, and Brett Pesce really playing shutdown hockey. There cannot be another better 4 top defensemen in the league. Add in Tony DeAngelo, Orlov, and Jalen Chatfield, and this D is unbelievable.
The Canes’ play took a step down in the second, with the defense just killing every opportunity the Preds tried to make. Both Burns and Slavin were beasts, stopping any threat. The ‘Preds’ tied the score just under the 14-minute mark when Yakov Trenin centered the puck in front of the net but hit Jordan Staal’s skate, sliding innocently into the net to tie the game.
Late in the period, with the Canes pressing deep in the Preds’ end, Aho’s shot was blocked in front, with Seth Jarvis in the right place at the right time. Jarvi was 12 feet off the right side of the goal, snared the puck, and in one motion whipped the puck into the far top shelf corner for what would be the game-winner.
Necas, Bunting Score, Defense Is Solid
The Canes, knowing their play dropped a bit in the second, came out in the third with renewed energy, and the crowd of nearly 15,000, for a preseason game no less, was loud. The ‘possession’ stat for being in the offensive zone was high for Canes, and much of that was in the third period, which might have been their best period of the preseason. Late in the period, after taking a nice pass from KK, Necas, just above the near-side circle, took a stride then sent a laser that kissed the far post, landing in the net for a great-looking goal. Only 33 seconds later, Fishy (Aho) took a shot from 15 feet out that was blocked, picked up the puck, and made a fantastic-looking pass to Bunting on the right corner of the goal, who corralled the puck then lifted it over the goalie’s pad to close the scoring.
The Canes looked very good against a team that has had the Canes’ number for some time. The Preds beat the Canes in both games last season and have won the previous 6 preseason games going back to 2018. The home opener on Wednesday, October 11, against the Ottawa Senators.