Matt Duchene scored at 14:54 of the second overtime to give the Nashville Predators a 5-4 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Friday.
Roman Josi lobbed a pass from the Nashville defensive zone, and Duchene received it at the opposite blue line, cut to the net and chipped the puck over goalie Alex Nedeljkovic’s glove.
“Enjoy it tonight, take the good vibes and move forward, and keep going at the task at hand here,” Duchene said.
Carolina leads the best-of-7 series with Game 4 at Nashville on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS, BSSO).
Ryan Ellis had a goal and two assists, and Juuse Saros made 52 saves for the Predators, who are the No. 4 seed in the Discover Central Division.
“It feels really good,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “It’s nice we found a way to win and get ourselves back in the series. For the players, the fans and the organization, it’s a good night.”
Sebastian Aho had a goal and two assists, and Nedeljkovic made 49 saves for the Hurricanes, who are the No. 1 seed.
“We played our butts off, played great, we played hard,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Nashville’s a phenomenal team. I give my guys tons of credit for just sticking with it. We still had great chances to win.”
Brett Pesce scored for the Hurricanes to tie the game 4-4 with 3:21 left in the third period on a wrist shot from the left point.
“I thought we worked really hard, had a ton of chances to finish that game,” Pesce said. “It’s not a good feeling, but every team goes through adversity. It’s a long playoff run, and I think this is going to make us stronger.”
Nashville took a 4-3 lead at 5:01 of the third. After winning a face-off, Ryan Johansen went to the net and deflected Ellis’ point shot.
“It was just an extra effort, getting to the net, trying to beat your check,” Johansen said. “We hadn’t been doing that as much in the past. Tonight we were better at it.”
Ellis gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 4:35 of the first period on a wrist shot through traffic from the right boards. Aho flipped a puck on net from the left boards to tie it 1-1 at 15:44.
The Predators went ahead 2-1 at 19:35. After taking a stretch pass from Mattias Ekholm, Filip Forsberg got a step on Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton and deked to the backhand. Saros got the secondary assist.
“I think it was another step in the right direction,” Forsberg said. “I think from Game 1 we got better to Game 2, and I thought we got better tonight and obviously got rewarded with a big win.”
Warren Foegele‘s pass out of Carolina’s defensive zone set up Jordan Staal for a breakaway goal at 3:31 of the second period to tie it 2-2.
Vincent Trocheck‘s power-play goal at 12:46 gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead. He scored from the goal line, shooting between Saros’ head and the left post. It was his first NHL postseason goal (13 games).
Mikael Granlund scored with a two-man advantage to tie it 3-3 at 14:42. Erik Haula jammed the puck loose near Nedeljkovic before Granlund poked it in off the goal line.
Johansen and Duchene, regulars on the Nashville power play, were taken off the units in Game 3. Their even-strength goals drew praise from Hynes.
“Give the two guys credit. They came in, they played hard, they played with a little chip on their shoulder tonight,” Hynes said. “They found a way on the scoreboard. … That’s what being a team is all about.”
Teams with a 2-1 lead are 362-154 (.702) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including 12-1 last season.
The Predators have lost all five best-of-7 series they trailed 2-0, but have never trailed 3-0. Nashville has lost all 10 best-of-7 series it has trailed 2-1.
NOTES: Saros tied the Predators record for most saves in a playoff game (Dan Ellis, 2-1 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals). … Josi led Nashville with seven shots and 36:54 of ice time. … The Predators were 1-for-7 on the power play and are 1-for-17 in the series. … Pesce had two shots and two hits in a game-high 39:37 of ice time. … Hurricanes defenseman Maxime Lajoie had three shots, one hit and one blocked shot playing 16:54 in his NHL playoff debut; he replaced Jaccob Slavin, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury.