(SportsNetwork.com) – Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators will try to
extend their longest winning streak of the season to five games when they
visit the Carolina Hurricanes in Tuesday’s battle at PNC Arena.
The Predators ended November on a four-game winning streak, giving the
franchise their longest stretch of consecutive wins since Jan. 31-Feb. 7,
2013. Nashville hasn’t posted five straight victories since Jan. 19-31, 2012.
With a 16-5-2 record, Nashville is one of the NHL’s most surprising teams this
season. The Preds enter Tuesday tied with St. Louis for first place in the
Central Division and can take over sole possession of the top spot with the
Blues idle tonight.
The Predators are coached by Laviolette, who is experiencing a terrific first
season in the Music City. Laviolette, of course, was the head coach in
Carolina from 2003-09 and led the Hurricanes to their one and only Stanley Cup
title in the spring of 2006.
Laviolette’s boys won the first three tests of their current winning streak
beyond regulation, but Nashville earned its latest victory in 60 minutes,
downing the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, on Saturday.
Colin Wilson’s goal with 2:12 remaining pushed the Preds to the win over the
Blue Jackets. Mike Ribeiro also scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne recorded
21 saves to earn the win.
“Since I’ve been here we tend to get into close games,” said Wilson. “It’s
good to get some wins in where it’s tight and you learn how to win in certain
Rinne improved to 16-3-1 this season and on Monday was named as the NHL’s
Third Star for the month of November. He went 10-1-0 last month. Nashville’s
No. 1 goaltender is leading the league in wins and is sporting a 1.82 goals
against average and .933 save percentage.
Filip Forsberg also was named the league’s top rookie in November after
posting nine goals and six assists last month.
Carolina lost for the fourth time in five games its last time out. The
Hurricanes lost the back end of a home-and-home series with Pittsburgh on
Saturday, dropping the home portion after notching a 4-2 win Friday in the
The Hurricanes lost 3-2 in regulation against the visiting Penguins. Thomas
Greiss made 32 saves for Pittsburgh, while Roberto Bortuzzo, Christian Ehrhoff
and Chris Kunitz scored for the Pens.
Justin Faulk tallied just over 3 1/2 minutes in to give Carolina an early
edge, but the Hurricanes didn’t get another past Greiss until Eric Staal’s
power-play tally with 11.7 seconds remaining. Anton Khudobin stopped 30 shots
in the loss.
The Hurricanes began a five-game homestand Saturday and fell to 4-4-1 in
Raleigh this season. Carolina has lost three in a row on home ice since
beating Calgary on Nov. 10.
Carolina has won three straight in the series with the Predators after losing
the previous six encounters. Nashville has lost two in a row and three of its
past five at PNC Arena.
Rinne is 3-0 with a 1.63 GAA in his career against Carolina. Cam Ward is
expected to start for the ‘Canes and is 1-4-1 with a 2.98 GAA in this series.