The Nashville Predators lost their second straight home ice matchup Thursday night to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 after a disappointing start in the first period led to an onslaught of goals, a complete loss of momentum and perhaps a brief loss of confidence for the boys in gold.
The Predators opened the match with a penalty 30 seconds into the game, a hooking call on Nick Bonino. Seven seconds later, Derek Ryan tipped in a slap shot to open up the scoring. Three minutes after that, a shot in Rinne’s blind spot through traffic by Elias Lindholm made it 2-0. One minute later, Noah Hanifin, who finished the night with a goal and two assists, scored the third goal on another tipped shot. Two minutes after that, Viktor Rask upped the deficit to four with a lucky bouncing puck, which sent Rinne to the showers. The only dent Nashville could put on the scoreboard was when Kevin Fiala tipped in a shot from P.K. Subban 15:33 into the first period
Like clockwork, all the momentum at Bridgestone was sucked up by Carolina’s combination of lucky, scrappy play. It’s been a while since the “Loudest Fans in Sports” were that quiet. Which makes you wonder, could there be a possibility for a sudden disdain for the Hurricanes? They are a fellow Southeast dwelling hockey club and the former Whalers have given us more trouble then we may feel they are worth.
The cross-region rivalry might be a little more serious if the Predators were in the Eastern Conference, but in the past, the Canes had a few winning seasons, winning the 2005-06 Stanley Cup but later losing their identity where they are in Raleigh, struggling in attendance. They are a team that are struggling to get their identity back, whereas Nashville has been the opposite in recent years, having found an explosive identity in the heart of Music City.
Both teams have thrived on an unspoken slogan that “Hockey can work here”. The Canes have bested the Preds the last four matchups though, dating back to last season and more recently before Thursday a 4-3 shootout win in Raleigh on November 26. There are only a couple matchups with the Canes a season, so not enough in the bank to make serious beef with them similar to the Blackhawks or the Blues. However, they’ve proven to be a minor threat.
To the present, the Canes have won four of their last five games, and after a red hot road trip, Nashville has fallen in their last two contests on home ice.