Duchene Scores in Double OT; Nashville Wins 5-4
Raleigh, NC -- Matt Duchene got the overtime winner and Juuse Saros made 55 saves, as the Nashville Predators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 in double overtime on Friday night. With the victory, Nashville got their first win of the postseason, cutting Carolina's lead in the first-round series to 2-1.
Filip Forsberg, Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, and Ryan Ellis scored in regulation for Nashville.
Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Vincent Trocheck, and Brett Pesce scored for Carolina.
"It was a grind of a game; they're going to be tight," Canes' captain Jordan Staal said following the loss. "I thought the boys battled hard. We were on the wrong side of this one, but we're going to come back with an even better effort next game."
There was obvious disappointment from the Canes' players and coaches following the second-longest playoff game in franchise history.
Head coach Rod Brind'Amour called out the recent officiating, noting the disparity in penalty calls over the last two games.
"We're in a battle. Nashville is a phenomenal team. But we're also fighting the refs," Brind'Amour said. "You can't tell me, two games in a row, we get seven and eight penalties, and they get three. When the game is this even? That's not right."
As Brind'Amour pointed out, Friday night saw another parade to the penalty box for the Hurricanes.
The officials whistled Carolina for seven minor penalties--and four of the final five penalties in the game.
But perhaps the most unfortunate call to go against the Canes was a key delay-of-game penalty on Warren Foegele in the second period.
The Canes had just taken a 3-2 lead after Vincent Trocheck scored an amazing powerplay goal, banking his shot off Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros' head.
Clinging to a one-goal lead, Foegele cleared the puck out of play from within his own defensive zone. Replays showed Foegele cleared the puck off the boards before it careened over the glass.
However, current NHL rules prohibit the officials from reviewing video in a delay of game scenario. In this case, the officiating team got together, talked it over, and came up with the wrong call.
The decision was costly for the Hurricanes.
On the subsequent powerplay, Jordan Staal took a tripping penalty that led to a 5-on-3 advantage for Nashville.
The Predators made it count; Mikael Granlund scored Nashville's first powerplay goal of the series and tied the game.
In the third period, the teams traded goals. Ryan Johansen put Nashville up 4-3; Brett Pesce's first career playoff goal leveled things at 4-4.
Over the next 34 minutes of overtime hockey, both teams had their chances to win.
Brock McGinn, Jordan Staal, and Nino Niederreiter all came close for Carolina.
Nashville had several good looks too.
However, Matt Duchene ultimately ended things at 14:54 of the second overtime--beating Jake Bean to a loose puck, then lifting a soft shot over Alex Nedeljkovic, who was attempting a poke check.
Carolina had hoped to take a dominant 3-0 series lead, but now the Canes must regroup, recoup, and prepare for a pivotal Game Four on short rest.
Sebastian Aho had three points (1g, 2a) for Carolina.
Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, and Warren Foegele each had one assist for Carolina.
Alex Nedeljkovic made 49 saves on 54 shots faced.
Filip Forsberg (1g, 1a), Ryan Ellis (1g, 1a), and Roman Josi (2a) each had two points for Nashville.
Mattias Ekholm, Alexandre Carrier, Colton Sissons, Tanner Jeannot, and Erik Haula each had one assist for Nashville.
Juuse Saros made 53 saves on 57 shots faced in the win for the Predators.
Cedric Paquette (lower body) and Jaccob Slavin (lower body) did not dress for Carolina.
Game Four is Sunday afternoon at 2:30 Eastern in Nashville.