RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Captain Jordan Staal scored twice to lead the Hurricanes to a 5-2 win over Nashville Game 1 of their first-round series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Staal scored one of his two goals as part of a three-goal third period that saw Carolina pull away with the series-opening win.
Nashville was the first on the board. Filip Forsberg drove to the net and deked to his backhand before pushing the puck between the pads of Alex Nedeljkovic.
Carolina tied the game about a minute and a half later. Steven Lorentz’s forecheck resulted in possession. He fed the puck back to the point, where Brett Pesce was waiting to take the shot first time. Teuvo Teravainen, with one hand on his stick, was able to redirect the puck past Juuse Saros to knot the game with 6:19 to go in the opening period.
In the second period, Staal powered his way through the Predators’ defense and wired the puck from a tight angle to beat Saros high.
Former Hurricane Erik Haula would level things at 2-2 before the midway point of the period.
Nino Niederreiter blasted home Martin Necas’ feed from below the goal line to restore Carolina’s lead. Staal’s second goal came a little more than five minutes later and gave the ‘Canes a bit of breathing room. His forechecking resulted in a chance for Warren Foegele, and the rebound fell to Staal in the slot.
Andrei Svechnikov scored on an empty net to give the ‘Canes a 5-2 lead with 1:47 to play.
Nedeljkovic made 22 stops on 24 shots in his first-ever postseason start.
The ‘Canes and Predators will meet in Game 2 on Wednesday at PNC Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m.