3 Keys: Hurricanes at Predators, Game 3 of first round


No. 1 Hurricanes at No. 4 Predators


Carolina leads the best-of-7 series, 2-0

The Nashville Predators will focus on improving their power play when they play the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Friday.

The Predators liked how they played at 5-on-5 during their 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes in Game 2 on Wednesday. But they went 0-for-7 on the power play with 10 shots on goal. They are 0-for-10 on the power play during the series.

“We made a few changes in different positions of where guys will be, that’s where we started,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “And then we really looked at our break-ins. We have to have a couple of adjustments where we can possibly get in with more possession and more speed, so we can establish the offensive zone in that area.”

Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin will be a game-time decision. Slavin was out for Game 2 because of a lower-body injury and did not take part in the morning skate Friday.

Teams that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 series are 192-4 (.979) winning the series.

Here are three keys for Game 3:

1. Carolina killing it

The Hurricanes’ penalty kill has gone 10-for-10 in the first two games. That includes going 4-for-4 and allowing five shots in goal in the first period of Game 2. Carolina also had seven shots on goal while shorthanded Wednesday.

It’s more of the same strong shorthanded play the Hurricanes showed during the regular season. They were third in the NHL on the penalty kill at 85.2 percent, and 88.9 percent in eight games against the Predators.

2. Predators need more from top guys

Nashville defenseman Roman Josi was outstanding in Game 2, leading the Predators with eight shots on goal and 26:29 of ice time. But the Predators aren’t getting enough from their other core players. Forward Ryan Johansen has one assist, three shots on goal and 14 penalty minutes in the series, and forward Viktor Arvidsson has two shots on goal. Forward Matt Duchene has five shots on goal in the series, four of them in Game 2.

“That’s how championship teams win, that’s how teams are successful, the big boys play, do big things on the ice,” Johansen said. “We’re down 0-2, our group can do more, including myself.”

3. No nerves for ‘Ned’

Alex Nedeljkovic is 2-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, a .964 save percentage and one shutout in his first two career NHL playoff games. The 25-year-old repeatedly has said he treats playoff games as he would any other, and believes that approach has led to his success.

“That’s how I look at it,” he said. “Even in practices, you’re having fun. You can be more loose in practice. You’re going to give up goals in practice and they don’t count. When you get out here you try to play as loose as you can. At the same time, be composed, be under control and have the right frame of mind and hopefully good things happen.”

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg — Ryan Johansen — Viktor Arvidsson

Calle JarnkrokMikael GranlundLuke Kunin

Eeli TolvanenErik Haula — Matt Duchene

Yakov TreninColton SissonsTanner Jeannot

Roman Josi — Ryan Ellis

Mattias EkholmAlexandre Carrier

Erik GudbransonMatt Benning

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Nick Cousins, Rocco Grimaldi, Brad Richardson, Tyler Lewington, David Farrance, Michael McCarron, Jeremy Davies, Rem Pitlick, Mathieu Olivier, Dante Fabbro

Injured: Luca Sbisa (lower body), Mark Borowiecki (upper body)

Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei SvechnikovSebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen

Nino NiederreiterVincent TrocheckMartin Necas

Warren FoegeleJordan StaalJesper Fast

Jordan MartinookSteven LorentzBrock McGinn

Brady SkjeiDougie Hamilton

Jake BeanBrett Pesce

Maxime LajoieJani Hakanpaa

Alex Nedeljkovic 

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Morgan Geekie, Jake Gardiner, Max McCormick, Drew Shore, Roland McKeown, James Reimer

Injured: Jaccob Slavin (lower body), Cedric Paquette (lower body)

Status report

Jarnkrok, who missed Game 2 with an illness, will return for Game 3. … Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said if Slavin, a defenseman, is out, Lajoie will make his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

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