Filip Forsberg scored twice, but it wasn’t enough as the Nashville Predators fell to the Carolina Hurricanes, 6-3, on Sunday afternoon at PNC Arena. The result concludes a season-long, six-game road trip and sees Nashville’s seven-game point streak come to an end.
Sebastian Aho recorded a hat trick for the Hurricanes, including goals on the power play and shorthanded, as the Hurricanes were the aggressors on the ice from the opening puck drop.
“We were outplayed,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “The [Ryan] Johansen line was really good, but we were outplayed. They were quicker, they wanted it more and they executed better… We knew what we were getting into, and we didn’t respond very well.”
Sunday’s loss will also serve as fuel for the sore subject that is Nashville’s underwhelming special teams play this season, as Carolina went 2-for-5 on the power play and scored shorthanded and Nashville went 0-for-5 and tallied once while a man down.
“Their work ethic and their effort is great,” Forsberg said of the Hurricanes. “(They’re) probably the hardest working team in the League, and if we show up like we did in the first and second, it’s not going to cut it. We got what we deserved.”
Carolina was up 2-0 after one period of play courtesy of goals from Aho and 2013 Preds draft selection Saku Maelanenen, but Colton Sissons cut the lead in half early in the second stanza when he tallied his 10th goal of the season to set a career high.
However, just 20 seconds later, Aho got his second of the day, and then Carolina added their fourth and fifth before Roman Josi found Forsberg while shorthanded to give the Preds a bit of life before the period came to a close.
Forsberg continued his highlight-reel return to the Nashville lineup at 13:33 of the third when he put in a puck with a shot between his legs, but that was as close as the Preds came to staging what would have been a comeback for the ages.
“We did some good things, but in total, everybody’s effort wasn’t there,” Forsberg said. “We knew what we were up against, and we just didn’t show up.”
With the six-game excursion finally complete, the Predators will be more than happy to play in their own building once more, starting on Tuesday against Washington (at 7 p.m. CT).
And while Sunday’s result makes it tough to appreciate, points in five out of six road contests will still go a long way in the standings, something the Preds will now look to build on as they head back to Tennessee.
“It’s been a tough trip,” Forsberg said. “A lot of tough buildings to play in, but at the same time, I’m mostly frustrated about our lack of effort today. But, overall it’s a decent trip.”
“We love playing at home and sleeping in our own bed is always nice,” Sissons said. “We’ll be looking to bounce back here on Tuesday.”
Anthony Bitetto, Zac Rinaldo and Frederick Gaudreau were scratched for the Predators on Sunday afternoon.
The Predators will play at Bridgestone Arena for the first time since New Year’s Day when they host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. Winnipeg and Florida will also visit Nashville during the three-game homestand before the Preds embark on a two-game trip prior to the 2019 NHL All-Star Weekend in San Jose.