Saros stops record 64 shots as Predators beat Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. — The shots came at such a rapid pace that Nashville goalie Juuse Saros didn’t have a chance to assess the chaos in front of him.
Just make the next save.
Saros racked up a franchise-record 64 saves and Mark Jankowski’s goal 5:06 into 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 nice to get the win,” said Saros, selected to the NHL All-Star Game a few hours earlier.
Saros matched the third-most saves in NHL history. He stopped all 28 shots in the third.
“He made multiple big saves,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “He’s one of the stars of our team. He played like that.”
The 67 shots for Carolina marked a franchise record. The previous high was 65 when, as the Hartford Whalers, the team beat Toronto on March 15, 1984.
“You’ve got to win the game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “What you’ve got to do is give credit where credit is due. That guy played as good a game in the net that you’re ever going to see.”
Saros didn’t mind the workload.
“I’m fine,” he said. “That’s why we practice.”
Filip Forsberg, Mattias Ekholm and Cody Glass also scored for Nashville, which has a four-game point streak. Colton Sissons had an empty-net goal, and Alexandre Carrier provided two assists.
Paul Stastny, Brady Skjei and Jordan Staal scored for Carolina. Brett Pesce had two assists, and Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 20 shots.
The Hurricanes, who had a franchise-record 11-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night against the New York Rangers, have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 6 and 9.
This one stung because what seemed like domination went for naught.
“We had the puck most of the game,” Staal said. “We definitely have to regroup and get back on it. It’s two in a row. We have to find a way to get on the right side of it.”
Saros was up to the task while facing Carolina’s power play in the final four minutes and he handled a 6-on-5 situation until Sissons’ empty-netter with 2.9 seconds left.
“He’s an All-Star for a reason,” Jankowski said.
The Predators responded to each of Carolina’s three goals with a tying tally within three minutes. Nashville scored three times on its first 12 shots. The Hurricanes held a 31-12 edge in shots after Glass’ fourth goal of the season and second in two games.
“It can’t be pretty every night, but you have to dig some out,” Ekholm said.
The Predators were proud that they executed well enough on offense to overcome what was happening at the other end.
“Anytime we get down like that, we know what we’re capable of,” Jankowski said.
The goals for Stastny and Forsberg came on power plays. Skjei’s goal was on a 4-on-4 situation 35 seconds into the second period.
“The pace of the game, they put some pressure on, obviously,” Hynes said. “We turned some pucks over that allowed them to (go) on the attack a little bit more.
“Carolina always plays that way. They shoot a lot of pucks. Especially behind, you knew it was going to be a hard push from them.”
Left wing Max Pacioretty made his Carolina debut, skating on the fourth line in his first game of the season.
“My energy was there,” he said.
Pacioretty launched six shots on goal.
“Just want him to get up to game speed as quickly as possible,” Brind’Amour said before the game. “Then he’s going to have that adjustment period to what we’re doing.”
Pacioretty was a key offseason acquisition for the Hurricanes, who dealt for him from Vegas. In August, he underwent surgery for a torn Achilles and was expected to miss up to six months.
He entered with 226 goals in 626 regular-season games.
Hurricanes forward Stefan Noesen missed his first game since the opener with a lower-body injury sustained in the first period Tuesday night. . Carolina forward Andrei Svechnikov also was selected to the All-Star Game.
Predators: At Washington on Friday.
Hurricanes: At Columbus on Saturday.