Slavin scores in SO as Hurricanes beat Predators, 3-2

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin (74) celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning goal against the Nashville Predators during a shootout at an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Even for a veteran like Ron Hainsey, there is always an opportunity for a career first.

Jaccob Slavin scored the only goal of the shootout to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Jeff Skinner and Hainsey scored in regulation for Carolina, which ended a two-game losing streak. Cam Ward finished with 25 saves through overtime and denied all three Nashville attempts in the shootout.

Hainsey, playing his 845th NHL game, tied the score at 8:22 of the third with his first career short-handed goal.

''You've got to step up and make a big play in close games, and that's what happened on the penalty kill,'' Carolina coach Bill Peters said. ''That's a huge play right there. Now you know you've got a point out of it, and you go to overtime looking for the other point.''

On the play, Hainsey took a pass in the slot from Elias Lindholm and drove to the net and slipped the puck between goalie Pekka Rinne's pads.

''We were going to have to get one,'' Hainsey said. ''If you keep scoring one goal, no matter how you do it, you're going to have to get them on the power play, you're going to have to score two or three to win consistently. We did that early and we found a way to get points.''

James Neal and Matt Irwin had the goals for the Predators, losers of two consecutive games – both in shootouts. Rinne stopped 23 shots.

Nashville is in last place in the tough Central Division.

''It's concerning where we're at,'' Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ''It's concerning with the inconsistency. It's not good enough. That's the bottom line.''

Irwin put Nashville ahead 2-1 with 2:55 left in the second as his shot from the left point through traffic beat Ward on the stick side. It gave Irwin, who began this season with Milwaukee of the AHL and was recalled Oct. 24, a goal in three straight games – matching a career high.

Neal scored the game's first goal at 9:44 of the opening period. From inside the Nashville zone, Colin Wilson made a stretch pass to Neal just outside the Carolina blue line. With Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy trailing, Neal cut to the right side and beat Ward for his second of the season.

Skinner tied it 1-1 with 6:35 left in the second with a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat Rinne on the stick side.

''First period they came with a good push and Ward kept us in there, made some big saves,'' Skinner said. ''Second period, we were able to roll around there. It was going either way and Ward again made some big saves. He was big in the shootout and OT.''

It was the second consecutive game that Nashville carried a 2-1 lead into the third period only to lose the game in a shootout. The Predators had the same result Thursday night in Arizona, which was the final game of Nashville's recent five-game road swing.

NOTES: Hurricanes RW Lee Stempniak played in his 800th career NHL game. … Nashville C Mike Fisher missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. … Rinne is 6-1-1 in his career against Carolina.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host New Jersey on Sunday.

Predators: Host Ottawa on Tuesday night.