Hakanpaas goal lifts Hurricanes past Predators

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Jani Hakanpaa scored his first goal of the season to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-1 win against the Nashville Predators at PNC Arena on Saturday.

Hakinpaa, a defenseman playing in his second game with Carolina after being acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, scored on a wrist shot through the legs of Nick Cousins following a face-off win by Vincent Trocheck to make it 2-1 at 8:55 of the third period. 

Andrei Svechnikov then scored an empty-net goal with 1:51 left for the 3-1 final.

Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves for the Hurricanes (29-10-4), who swept the two-game set and are 6-0-0 against Nashville this season. 

Carolina is one point ahead of the Florida Panthers for first place in the Discover Central Division. The top four teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Roman Josi scored, and Juuse Saros made 45 saves for the Predators (24-21-1), who are two points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth place division. 

Jaccob Slavin gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 18:18 of the first period when he took a pass from Morgan Geekie on a 3-on-2 rush and scored with a snap shot from the high slot.

Josi tied it 1-1 at 11:36 of the second period. He intercepted a clearing attempt by Carolina defenseman Jake Bean and skated into the slot before scoring with a turnaround shot over the glove of Nedeljkovic. 

Predators forward Matt Duchene had two shots and three hits in 14:46 in his return after missing the previous 22 games with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who was acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators on Monday, had one shot and three hits in 15:40 in his Nashville debut.

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