While the Carolina Hurricanes opened a road-heavy stretch with a
crucial win their last time out, their visits to Bridgestone Arena
haven’t gone nearly as well.
The last-place Nashville Predators, though, haven’t had much of
a home-ice advantage of late.
The Hurricanes go for their second win in nine road meetings
against Nashville, which tries to avoid a fourth consecutive loss
Carolina (11-12-5) was limited to an average of 2.5 goals during
a 2-5-1 stretch before bouncing back with Tuesday’s 4-1 win at
Washington. Jeff Skinner scored twice and added an assist while
Justin Peters stopped 26 shots.
“He got off to a great start and then he got hurt,” coach Kirk
Muller said of Skinner, who was playing in his seventh game after
missing 11 with an upper-body injury. “Now he’s starting to get in
the groove again. He’s a goal scorer, and if you give him a chance
he’s going to score.”
Despite his lengthy absence, Skinner’s six goals are tied with
three other players for the team lead.
“Skin’s a really gifted player and he goes right to the hard
areas,” said Peters, whose team plays five of its next six away
from home. “He got rewarded from playing within our system. It’s
great to see. I’m happy for him.”
Skinner will try to build on his latest display against
Nashville (13-12-3), which has taken four straight home meetings
from Carolina by a combined 15-6 score. The Predators have limited
the Hurricanes to 13 goals in going 7-1-0 all-time at home.
Currently last in the Central Division, Nashville had won five
of six before scoring three goals during an 0-2-1 slide, with each
of those losses coming at home. Colin Wilson provided the offense
with his fifth goal in Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat to Vancouver.
“It’s good to get that goal,” said Wilson, who also scored in
Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Philadelphia. “We have to start
Marek Mazanec had allowed two or zero goals in eight consecutive
games before making 30 saves Tuesday. The Canucks went 1 for 4 on
the man advantage, snapping the Predators’ eight-game stretch
without allowing a power-play goal.
“Both teams were playing, and we were matched pretty evenly,”
coach Barry Trotz said. “It came down to who was more detailed,
disciplined, and who was winning all of those 1-on-1 battles.”
Mazanec, the NHL’s rookie of the month for November, dropped to
1-3-1 despite a 2.21 goals-against average in his last five home
starts. Peters had gone 0-5-0 with a 3.68 GAA on the road before
beating the Capitals.
Peters allowed all five goals in a 5-2 loss at Nashville on Jan.
7, 2012, his only appearance in the series. He will need to be wary
of Patric Hornqvist, who has five goals and an assist in three
career home games in the series.
Hurricanes captain Eric Staal has 12 points in his last 10
games, including six during a five-game scoring streak on the road.
While Staal had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 win over the
Predators on Feb. 28, 2012, he has just one point in three trips to
These teams didn’t play in 2012-13 due to the lockout.
The Predators have surrendered an NHL-low eight power-play goals
since Oct. 12. Carolina has posted the league’s worst power-play
percentage (8.9) since Nov. 5, going 4 for its last 45.