It’s was the same ol’ song for the Canes in Music City against the Predators Thursday night. A well played bout, with the Canes paying for their mistakes and not capitalizing on their opportunities, which on this night added up to a 4-2 loss in Nashville.
The Canes started strong with Rod Brind’Amour scoring only his third of the season to get the Canes off to an early lead. The Captain was set up by Jerome Samson, who made a fine NHL debut earning his first assist during his first shift in his first game in a big-league uniform. Samson, receiving the call last night, was the fourth active player on the Canes roster (Zach Boychuk, Jiri Tlusty, and Brandon Sutter) who all started out the season in Albany. The call-ups have been a pleasant surprise, and that is something that has been few and far between this season for the Canes.
Nashville would score two goals in the final six minutes of the first period, the first was a SHG by J.P Dumont (8) with Matt Cullen coming out of the penalty box and unable to catch up to the play and the second was a PPG wrister from Patric Hornqvist (15) which was also caused by Cullen spending time in the sin bin.
Steve Sullivan had what would be the game wining goal with 1:10 remaining in the second period. He did pay for it though, via an Andrew Alberts hard check into the boards behind the visitor’s net. He did leave on his own power, bent over in obvious pain. Sullivan missed the entire 2007-2008 season due to a back injury.
The Canes defense, mainly Tim Gleason and Niclas Wallin, had no answer for the offensive power the Predators first line created made up of Sullivan-Jason Arnott- Hornqvist. The line scored three goals, two of them power play goals both by Hornqvist, one each period of the game, which is essentially the difference in a Canes win and another loss.
This game could have gotten out of hand with all the shots that the Predators were getting through the Canes defense, but Cam Ward made 30 saves on the night, 13 in the third period alone when the Canes only tallied 4 SOG for their comeback attempt.
The Canes head home to host the Avalanche Friday night who are coming off a loss to the John Tavares-led New York Islanders. The Canes faced the Avalanche early in the season in what was a 5-4 loss in Denver. Third round draft pick Matt Duchene is coming into the game with 11 goals on the season, which is the same as Canes’ wingers Ray Whitney, Tuomo Ruutu, and Jussi Jokinen, all tied with 11 goals, which leads the team in scoring.
The Hurricanes hope to maybe have Sergei Samsonov back in the lineup, who is day-to-day due to an upper body injury inflicted during the Rangers game on New Year’s Eve. Chad LaRose, Erik Cole, Scott Walker and Joe Corvo are all permanent fixtures on the injury reserve, at least for the next coming week.