No rest for the weary is what the Canes had to be thinking after returning to the PNC Arena the day after concluding a very disappointing season-long 6-game road trip, finishing 2-4 with those two wins salvaged in the last two games, the last one against the Red Wings the night before. The Nashville Predators had not played a game since Tuesday, allowing their very banged-up team to recoup a bit, which could have been the difference in the game. It took just 33 seconds in overtime for the Predators to secure a scoreboard slugfest with a 6-5 win.
Noesen, DeAngelo Pot Powerplay Goals
Antti Raanta was in goal, seeking the support of the home ice and Caniacs to help him win once again. All looked great in the beginning as Raanta made two unbelievable saves early in the contest. Yakov Trenin got behind the defense, putting a dead-on shot 12 feet out that Raanta booted out with a pad save. Jeremy Lauzon was trailing with the puck going right to his tape, smacking the puck back less than a second later. Raanta somehow got across the crease to make a highlight-reel save, directing the puck to the far boards. Less than 20 seconds later, with the puck still in the Canes’ end, a turnover proved costly. Tommy Novak fired a hard shot that Raanta blocked, but the puck bounced out about 20 feet. Juuso Parssinen was quick to the puck, slapping it to the goal. It turned out to be a greaser as it slipped between the pads, barely getting over the goal line for the early 1-0 Predators lead.
Marty Necas did what he does best, keeping his feet constantly moving. He drew the first penalty when he was hooked by Alexandre Carrier. With the second powerplay unit on the ice, Necas, down low along the circle, passed up to Tony DeAngelo. DeAngelo quickly turned and looked over to the right, then passed back to Necas. Without hesitation, Necas passed to Jack Drury, who backed up to the circle’s perimeter, snapping a shot that Stefan Noesen tipped up over Kevin Lankinen’s shoulder to tie the game. Barely over a minute later, Necas drew another penalty to put the Canes on the man advantage again. Sebastian Aho took the initial faceoff with the puck going to the near boards. Michael Bunting won the battle along the boards, slipping the puck up to DeAngelo on the left point. DeAngelo carried the puck to top dead center, saw Aho in front with Bunting charging from the left, and let go a hard wrister that hit a defender’s skate, going in with just 8 seconds gone in the penalty for the Canes’ first lead at 2-1.
Goals, Goals, and More Goals
If anyone likes scoring, the second period was like an early Christmas gift. The Preds tied the game early when perennial All-Star Roman Josi had the puck up high with Jordan Staal defending. Josi stepped up his speed, going to the left side of the goal with Staal perfectly positioned to force Josi wide. Whether Josi planned this or it was dumb luck, Jordan Martinook had his back to the play, defending his man when Staal ran into him, allowing Josi to circle the goal for an easy wrap-around to tie the game. A minute later, Martinook had the puck up high in the Preds zone, made a nice pass to Bunting in the far circle. Bunting saw Jalen Chatfield use his speed to go to the dirty area of the crease, sending a hard centering pass that Chatfield tipped in, allowing the Canes to regain the lead. Just 19 seconds later, the Canes increased their lead back to 2 goals.
Brent Burns’ long reach negated a clear by the Preds, with Noesen snaring the loose puck. He saw Seth Jarvis inside the far circle. Without any hesitation, Jarvis fed the puck to Fishy cross-ice with a hard pass that was blasted into the net for his 11th of the year. A short time later, Jarvis got called for goalie interference when he was pushed into Lankinen. The Canes initially looked good on the PK but couldn’t hold off the Preds forever as their power play units are very strong. Shortly after that goal, Cody Glass took a hard slap shot from the right point, missing everything with the puck circling along the boards down to the Preds goal line. Teuvo Teravainen put pressure on Carrier, who goosed the puck to the crease, thinking a teammate would clear the puck, not counting on Necas speeding down Broadway, slamming the puck for the unassisted goal.
In keeping with the quick goal theme, after the Canes got manhandled in the Preds zone, turning the puck over with only Chatfield back in a 2-on-1 situation, Tyson Barrie scored on a one-timer from 20 feet out that possibly Raanta wanted a second chance on.
Predators Had Momentum
Six goals in the period in less than a 7-minute time span may be exciting for the fans but is a nightmare for players and especially coaches. So the word in the locker room in between periods had to be forecheck, forecheck, forecheck. The players answered the coaching call as forechecking was prevalent after being nonexistent in the second. Midway in the period, after a careless turnover, or looked at another way, better forechecking by the Predators, possession in the Preds end quickly turned into a 3-on-2 going to the Canes end that eventually turned into a 4-on-2 with Jeremy Lauzon scoring just his second of the year to tie the game.
The overtime was disappointing for the Caniacs. Staal was out for the faceoff, not a clean win but a win on the draw that Burns was cautiously slow in retrieving. The puck was sent deep, and Josi held it behind the net for what seemed like 10 seconds, waiting for his teammates to build speed. The puck was sent to the boards in front of the penalty box, with Jaccob Slavin and two Predators fighting for the puck. The puck flipped high, with Filip Forsberg catching then dropping the puck to his stick, entering the Canes end along the boards, cutting right, taking three strides, and sending a wrister from 30 feet out that hit Raanta’s chest and bounced in with just 33 seconds gone.
A big letdown for the Caniacs as it was a fun game to watch, with getting the one point the only consoling thing.
The next game is Sunday against the Capitals. Be there!