|Staal-less Hurricanes hope to complete sweep of Predators|
There were plenty of positives for the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators when they met for the first time this season.
They will try to repeat many of those aspects Tuesday night in their rematch at Nashville, Tenn.
The Hurricanes won 4-2 in the Monday night meeting, so they gained the most from that outing.
"We had to go out and play our game a little bit better than they did," Carolina center Vincent Trocheck said.
Nashville winger Viktor Arvidsson said, "We started to find our groove and we're getting much better."
Even with the defeat, the Predators saw signs of growth that might have been minimal during their opening two-game sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets. They put 33 shots on net Monday night.
"I thought we played a lot better than we did the other night," Nashville winger Filip Forsberg said. "We created more offense than we had in the other games. ... We had chances. We have to bear down better on those."
The Hurricanes, who will play their home opener Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, are adjusting to the pace of games.
"As the season goes on, it's going to get a little quicker," Trocheck said.
It figures that goalies Petr Mrazek of Carolina and Juuse Saros of Nashville could be in the nets for the rematch. They were backups for the first time this season Monday night, with James Reimer of the Hurricanes and Pekka Rinne of the Predators turning in solid performances in their season debuts.
The stellar Carolina combination of forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho converted for a third-period goal Monday, and both finished with a goal and an assist. They are looking to jell on a regular basis.
"It makes it easy on us," Svechnikov said of the familiarity of the line. "Every game is getting better."
That's something the Predators must be aware of.
"I think we can definitely tighten things up defensively," Forsberg said.
The status of Carolina left winger Teuvo Teravainen is uncertain as he left the Monday game after "tweaking something," according to coach Rod Brind'Amour. Teravainen played slightly more than nine minutes.
"I'm not sure where he stands for (Tuesday's game)," Brind'Amour said.
The Hurricanes are planning to play their third consecutive game without captain Jordan Staal, who is out due to COVID-19 protocols. His absence is glaring on faceoffs, as Nashville won two-thirds of the draws Monday night.
"A third of the faceoffs are going to guys who that's not their specialty," Brind'Amour said of his team. "That's a big deal."
Morgan Geekie was in the lineup for the first two games that Staal missed.
This will be the back end of the first set of games this season on consecutive nights for each team. It's the type of schedule that the teams must learn to embrace.
"This is going to be a year of this," Brind'Amour said of facing the same team in consecutive games, often with little time in between. "You give it all you have, you rest (during the next day) and then you do it again."
The Hurricanes have won eight of their past nine matchups with the Predators.
--Field Level Media