Hurricanes fall to Predators 2-1 in shootout
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Martin Erat and Cal O'Reilly scored in the shootout to push the Nashville Predators to a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
After O'Reilly matched Carolina's Jeff Skinner in the first round, each team failed on its second opportunity. Patrick O'Sullivan then missed for the Hurricanes, setting up Erat's winner.
It was the second consecutive shootout loss for Carolina in as many nights after a 5-4 setback at Pittsburgh.
Surprisingly, this one featured very little scoring. It's unlikely any team has been as inconsistent as the Hurricanes, who have scored goals in bunches and given them up nearly as frequently. In the previous eight games, three of their victories have been 7-2, 7-1 and 7-1. They also have losses by big margins -- 7-4, 8-1 and 7-2 -- to complete the odd rotation of games.
Carolina scored first when Joni Pitkanen skated in and sent a centering pass from the right circle toward Erik Cole. The puck bounced of the stick of Nashville defenseman Shane O'Brien and skittered through goaltender Pekka Rinne midway through the first period.
Given the Hurricanes' offensive bursts of late, it figured to be the first of many. But Nashville struck next.
A poor Carolina clearing effort left the puck with Jordin Tootoo near the blue line. With four Hurricanes closing in, he found teammate Jerred Smithson all alone in front of the net. He patiently beat Cam Ward with a wrister to tie it at 1.
Rinne finished with 21 saves while Ward had 26 stops.
NOTES: Nashville is 4-1 in the past five games, following a five-game losing streak.
Updated November 20, 2010