The Nashville Predators are hitting their stride after a slow start with wins in nine of their last 10 games and hope to continue the hot streak when they visit the inconsistent Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon. The Predators were 5-5-2 after a loss to San Jose on Nov. 1 but have been one of the league’s best teams since then while averaging four goals in their last 10 games - a stretch capped by a 2-0 shutout of St. Louis on Friday.
“We haven’t played our best hockey yet,” Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban told reporters. “That’s the exciting thing about our team, is that we haven’t played our best hockey yet.” Filip Forsberg attempts to extend his point streak to eight games when Predators take on the Hurricanes, who have allowed 11 goals while losing their last two games after putting together a promising 5-1-2 run. Young forwards Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho have been on a roll of late, but Carolina’s problems have been at the other end of the rink. “We’ve given up too many goals obviously, six and then five,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters told reporters. “Don’t think we’re going to outscore our mistakes. That’s the thing we need to clear up ASAP.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), FSN Carolinas
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (14-6-2): Forsberg (team-best 24 points) has collected three goals and seven assists during his streak while Subban (18 points) has posted six assists in his last four contests. Ryan Johansen also has raised his production level with three goals and five assists in his last five games, while the newly acquired Kyle Turris has notched five points in seven contests since coming over from Ottawa in a three-team trade. Nashville is 6-for-11 with the man advantage over its last four games and 15-for-16 on the penalty kill in that span.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (9-8-4): Victor Rask was back in the lineup for Friday’s 5-4 loss to Toronto after being a healthy scratch for the previous two contests, but his point drought reached eight games. Carolina also needs to get leading goal scorer Jeff Skinner (nine) going again, as the left wing recorded seven tallies in October but has been held to two this month. Teravainen, who leads the team with 21 points, has recorded 12 over his last six contests while Aho has scored five goals in his last six games after going without a tally in the first 15.
1. Carolina RW Justin Williams is two points shy of 700 for his career and D Justin Faulk is one away from 200.
2. Nashville G Pekka Rinne passed Miikka Kiprusoff for the most shutouts by a Finnish goaltender (45) with Friday’s blanking.
3. The Hurricanes won both meetings last season, including a shootout victory in Nashville and a 4-2 triumph at home.
PREDICTION: Predators 4, Hurricanes 2