ROLEY, North Carolina “The shots went at such a fast pace that Nashville goalie Juuse Saros didn’t have time to appreciate the chaos that reigned in front of him.
Just make the next save.
Saros made a franchise-record 64 saves, and Mark Jankowski’s goal at 5:06 in the third period gave the Predators their first lead in a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
“It was a sweaty night, but it’s nice to win,” said Saros, who had been selected to the NHL All-Star Game a few hours earlier.
Saros became the third-most saves in NHL history. He stopped all 28 shots in the third.
“He made some big saves,” Predators coach John Hines said. “He is one of the stars of our team. That’s how he played.”
Carolina’s 67 shots was a franchise record. The previous high was 65 when the Hartford Whalers defeated the Toronto on March 15, 1984.
“You have to win the game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “What you have to do is give credit where it’s due. This guy played such a good game on the network, which you have not seen yet.
Saros didn’t mind the load.
“I’m fine,” he said. “That’s why we train.”
Filip Forsberg, Matthias Ekholm and Cody Glass also scored for Nashville, which is on a four-game streak. Colton Sissons scored into an empty net, while Alexander Carrier provided two assists.
Goals for Carolina were scored by Paul Stasny, Brady Skay and Jordan Staal. Brett Pesce made two assists, and Petr Kochetkov saved 20 shots.
The Hurricanes, which had a franchise-record 11-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night against the New York Rangers, lost straight games on the first team for the first time since Nov. 6 and Nov. 9.
It stung because what seemed like dominance went in vain.
“We had the puck for most of the game,” Staal said. “We definitely need to regroup and get back to business. It’s two in a row. We have to find a way to get on the right side.”
Saros got the job done facing Carolina’s power play in the last four minutes and he handled the situation 6 on 5 until Sissons scored an empty net with 2.9 seconds left.
“He’s an All-Star for a reason,” Jankowski said.
The Predators answered each of the Carolinas’ three goals with a tie within three minutes. Nashville scored three times after the first 12 shots. The Hurricanes had a 31–12 shooting lead after Glass’s fourth goal of the season and second in two games.
“It can’t be pretty every night, but something needs to be dug up,” Ekholm said.
The Predators prided themselves on being good enough on offense to overcome what was happening on the other end.
“Every time we go down like this, we know what we are capable of,” Jankowski said.
Goals Stastna and Forsberg were scored in the majority. Skjei’s goal came in a 4-on-4 situation 35 seconds into the second period.
“Obviously, because of the pace of the game, they put some pressure on them,” Hines said. “We flipped a few pucks, which allowed them to attack a little more.
“Caroline always plays like that. They throw a lot of pucks. Especially from the back, you knew they would push hard.”
Left winger Max Pacioretti made his Carolina debut, finishing fourth in his first game of the season.
“My energy was there,” he said.
Pacioretti had six shots on goal.
“I just want him to pick up the speed of the game as quickly as possible,” Brind’Amur said before the game. “Then he’ll have a period of adjustment to what we’re doing.”
Pacioretti was a key off-season acquisition for the Hurricanes, who traded for him from Vegas. In August, he underwent surgery for a torn Achilles tendon and was expected to miss up to six months.
He scored 226 goals in 626 regular season games.
ICE IS IMPORTANT
Hurricanes forward Stefan Noesen missed his first game since Game 1 with a lower body injury sustained in the first period on Tuesday night. … Carolina forward Andrei Svechnikov was also selected to the All-Star Game.
Predators: In Washington on Friday.
Hurricanes: in Columbus on Saturday.
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