Hurricanes overcome sloppy play for OT win

With the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins both closing out their respective series Sunday, it meant there was only one U.S.-based game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators required overtime for the third consecutive game, but unlike the previous two contests it was the Canes that skated away with the victory.

Nashville was doing a great job clogging up the neutral zone, getting into shooting lanes and slowing the game down, while Carolina didn’t quite resemble the high-flying, puck-moving team hockey fans have come to know.

The Hurricanes still managed to fire 37 shots at Juuse Saros and they out-hit the Preds 66-40, but losing the turnover battle an embarrassing 21-4 nearly cost them the game were it not for a few key plays and players.

Necas outwits Saros with two-goal game

Martin Necas was the best forward for Carolina in regulation and was rewarded with his first two-goal playoff game.

Necas beat Saros over his glove hand on the power play in the first period mere seconds after being stopped by the Predators goalie on an identical shot.

“We haven’t scored much lately so we have to change something,” the 12th-overall pick from 2017 said during a TV interview in between the first and second period. “We gotta put the pucks on the net. He’s a great goalie, but he’s a little smaller so when he doesn’t see if we put it high it could work, so hopefully we’re going to keep going like that and get a couple more.”

Carolina couldn’t beat Saros with another high shot, although Necas exploited the netminder’s lack of length on a terrific wraparound goal to even the score in the third period and help send the game to OT.

Canes overcome timely goal challenge from Preds

The Hurricanes thought they had initially evened the score at 2-2 in the second period, however Saros shrugged his shoulders immediately after the puck slid into his net and Preds bench boss John Hynes wasted no time challenging the call.

Saros was bumped and Warren Foegele’s foot was in the crease. Even though it was primarily Roman Josi’s body preventing Saros from making the save, it was deemed goaltender interference by the letter of the law and the score was rolled back to 2-1.

Carolina had trouble generating many quality scoring chances after the successful challenge and couldn’t gather any consistent momentum until roughly 12 minutes remaining in the third period after they had killed off an undisciplined roughing minor Foegele was assessed.

The Hurriacnes kept at it, took Necas’s advice and continued firing pucks at Saros. It ultimately led to the OT winner much to the delight of Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour.

“I think we got rewarded tonight,” Brind’Amour told reporters at PNC Arena. “That’s the way I look at it. We finally got a bounce, something that went our way that we really haven’t had this series. So I think that was nice.”

Trenin steps up for Preds

Some nights, especially in the playoffs, it’s tough to predict who’s going to play the hero or be an unexpected contributor.

Yakov Trenin was that player for Nashville in Game 5 as the 24-year-old Russian recorded his first multi-goal game in the NHL.

Trenin’s first saw a Josi shot deflect off the shaft of his stick past Alex Nedeljkovic. His second came following a brutal drop pass from Brett Pesce that was picked up by Colton Sissons who delivered a sweet saucer feed and Trenin wired it past Nedeljkovic low blocker for his second of the game.

Unfortunately for Nashville, the second-round pick from 2015 was the lone source of offence for his team in Game 5.

The Predators will look to stave off elimination Thursday at home in Game 6.

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