The Carolina Hurricanes got another goal from Andrei Svechnikov, off to a terrific start this season.
The Canes again got goals from Jesper Fast and Teuvo Teravainen.
But the Hurricanes’ 3-2 victory Saturday over the Nashville Predators, their second of the season, centered squarely on the man in net and the smooth, calm and focused play of goalie Frederik Andersen.
Andersen had 38 saves and was named the game’s first star as the Canes followed up a high-scoring win over the New York Islanders on Thursday with their first road win of the season. Fighting the puck at times in the opener, the guy they call “Freddie” stood tall -- and he’s a tall goalie at 6-4 -- as the Predators (0-2-0) pressed and attacked at Bridgestone Arena.
“That was the difference,” Brind’Amour said on a media call after the game. “I haven’t seen a lot of games like that in the three years I’ve been (coach) where clearly the goalie was the reason we won the game or that we needed him to win. We didn’t play a very good game in front of him but he came up huge.”
The Predators’ Ryan Johansen scored in the second period after picking off a lazy Svechnikov pass in the neutral zone and skating in alone on Andersen for a backhander. The Preds’ second goal, by Filip Forsberg, came with 44.7 seconds left in regulation with Nashville pulling goalie Juuse Saros for a sixth attacker.
“He played awesome,” Svechnikov said.
Svechnikov, the biggest star of the season opener with two goals and an assist, called his turnover a “big mistake” but atoned for it. His third goal of the season, on a heavy shot off a Martin Necas pass, pushed the Canes ahead 2-1 with six minutes left in regulation after Andersen had made a glove save on a Forsberg shot.
“I had to do that and I’m glad we won today,” Svechnikov said.
Teravainen then added an empty net goal for a 3-1 lead with 1:12 left in the third, but Forsberg’s late score made things tense at the end. The Preds were pushing hard to force overtime in a game that had the physicality, puck battles and gritty intensity of the Stanley Cup matchups the two teams had in the opening round last season.
Saros, after allowing Fast’s goal in the first period, was effective as the Predators tied the score in the second and began the third period with a power play. Canes defenseman Brady Skjei was called for tripping with a second remaining in the period.
The Canes killed off the Skjei penalty and another on Vincent Trocheck in the third to keep it a 1-1 game as Andersen made some hustling stops. Nashville was 0-4 on the power play despite getting nine shots on goal.
“Our penalty kill bailed us out,” Brind’Amour said.
Svechnikov’s goal came after defenseman Brett Pesce flipped the puck out of the Canes zone to the neutral zone. Necas, on the right wing, set up Svechnikov for the blast on the left side.
Pesce also assisted on the Teravainen goal and played more than four minutes on the penalty kill.
Brind’Amour said he “shuffled the deck” with his lines during the game. He did keep the Jordan Staal line intact with Fast and Nino Niederreiter, which he called the “only line that was going.”
The Canes had a chance to take control in the first. Fast scored on a shot from the left circle for a 1-0 lead and the Canes, pressuring the Preds, then had 1:37 of a 5-on-3 power play.
But poor puck movement and too few shots during the two-man advantage became a big miss for Carolina. The Preds aggressively forechecked in the second period after the Canes’ had a solid edge in puck possession in the first.
“Our power play was atrocious tonight. I don’t know what we were trying to accomplish,” Brind’Amour said.
Playing the Predators didn’t have the same freshness that the opener against Islanders, once again a Metropolitan Division opponent. The Canes and Preds faced off eight times in the 2021 regular season in the Central Division, then again in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs as Carolina advanced in six games.
The Predators, who play their first four games at home, were beaten Thursday by the Seattle Kraken in their season opener — for Seattle, a historic first NHL win for the expansion Kraken.