A stout, 60-minute offensive effort by the Predators was ultimately offset by sloppy passing in the third period, allowing the advantageous Hurricanes to leave the ice with a 4-2 win on Monday.
The Preds finished the game with a nine-shot advantage over the Hurricanes, but the key difference lies with the high-danger shot meter. Six of the Preds' 33 shots were counted as high-danger, compared to eleven of Carolina's 24 shots being HDCF. In other words, the Hurricanes may have taken fewer shots, but they were certainly making the most of them.
An HDCF-to-shot rate equating to nearly half is fairly rare, but it emphasizes the quietly opportunistic nature of this Hurricanes team.
It's no secret that Carolina's Sebastian Aho-Andrei Svechnikov tandem on the wings is a lethal combination. Give an inch, they'll take a mile. Though the Preds commandeered puck possession for most of the game, the duo got crafty when they had the puck on their stick. They were responsible for two of the Canes' biggest goals- the opening goal and the eventual game-winner. Aho, Svechnikov, and Vincent Trocheck finished the game with a goal and an assist apiece.
Filip Forsberg scored again last night, keeping him at a breakneck, goal-per-game pace. Viktor Arvidsson recorded a 97-MPH slapshot goal and an assist, providing the Preds with their first successful power play conversion of the season. Nashville is now 1 for 11 on the PP in three games.
Matt Duchene recorded only a single assist on Arvidsson's goal, but took four shots and had the second-most ice time among Preds forwards. Roman Josi finished the game with an uncharacteristic -2 on-ice rating; the 2020 Norris Trophy winner has just one point through three games. Pekka Rinne lost his first start of the season, finishing with a .870 save percentage.
The Preds' first two games were dominated by the team's new guys, but they were silent in their first matchup with the Canes; none of the key six acquisitions recorded a point last night, finishing with a collective -3 rating.
Tuesday's game against the Hurricanes- the second game of a scheduled back-to-back- has been postponed due to "an abundance of caution" against COVID-19 issues. Carolina's Jordan Staal and Nashville's Mikael Granlund are the only two players on either team to be reported as being in mandatory quarantine as of now. The full protocol report will be released today at 5 p.m.
The Preds' next scheduled game is on Friday in Dallas. They'll face a Stars team that has yet to begin their 2020-21 season, after a COVID-19 outbreak suspended them from playing their first two series against Florida and Tampa Bay.