Slumping Hurricanes seek fixes vs. surging Predators (Nov 26, 2017)

BY AP • November 25, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes are intent on fixing their problems and that won't likely come easy against the Nashville Predators, who have been one of the NHL's best teams.

The Hurricanes close a four-game homestand with Sunday afternoon's outing against Nashville at PNC Arena.

The Predators (14-6-2) carry a four-game winning streak into the game, with points in nine of their last 10 games under coach Peter Laviolette, who led Carolina to a Stanley Cup in 2006.

"We've been really fortunate," Laviolette said. "We've been good from the back end. That kind of drives our team."

The Hurricanes (9-8-4) have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Oct. 21-24 following a 6-1 loss to the New York Rangers Wednesday and a 5-4 setback to the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday.

"There's areas in our game we have to be better in," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "It's not one massive area."

While the Hurricanes have bemoaned recent defensive breakdowns, the Predators have celebrated what has happened in their defensive zone.

Nashville goalie Pekka Renne recorded his 45th NHL shutout in Friday night's 2-0 victory at St. Louis, which is the top team in the Western Conference. That set the record for the most NHL shutouts by a Finnish-born goalie.

Penne's blanking of the Blues came with 34 saves.

"He gives us a chance to win every night," Laviolette said. "I think we've played better in front of him (recently). He's off to a terrific start and that has allowed our team to get off to a great start."

The Hurricanes have allowed a total of 11 goals in the last two games, both home losses. That's probably more than just a reflection of the goalies. Scott Darling started in one of those games and Cam Ward was the starter in the other.

"We've given up too many goals, obviously -- six and then five," Peters said. "Don't think we're going to outscore our mistakes. That's the thing we need to clean up ASAP."

Peters said he's concerned by the uneven play.

"Some of the decisions we make as a group of five as a line," he said. "There's times when pucks have to get put in deep, times where you have to make a simple safe play. For some reason, that has been an inconsistent issue with us throughout. One night it's this line, one night it's another struggling with those types of decisions. You have to stay structured."

The Hurricanes have received solid offensive contributions from right winger Sebastian Aho, whose five-game goals streak ended Friday night, and left winger Teuvo Teravainen, who has at least one assist in six consecutive games.

The Hurricanes racked up 47 shots in Friday's loss to the Maple Leafs. Carolina, which has outshot its opponents in 17 of 21 games, has topped the 40-shot mark in four games this season.

It's father's weekend for the Predators, with dads of players on the trip. They were on board for the first leg of the trip in St. Louis.

The Hurricanes and Predators will have a rematch next month at Nashville.