• 91°

Predators down Hurricanes to clinch playoff berth; teams will face off again in first round

By JIM DIAMOND

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Luke Kunin scored twice and Juuse Saros made 21 saves as the Nashville Predators beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Saturday night to secure the Central Division’s fourth and final playoff berth.

Erik Haula also scored and Mikael Granlund had two assists for Nashville, which has won three of four.

Morgan Geekie scored and Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves for Carolina, which lost its first game in regulation since April 12.

With Carolina already having locked up the top spot in the Central, the Hurricanes and Predators will meet in the opening round of the playoffs.

Kunin scored the game’s first goal at 12:27 of the second period. From just inside the Carolina blue line, Granlund lifted a backhand pass to Kunin skating through the high slot. He continued in alone on Nedeljkovic and scored on a backhand on the stick side.

Kunin scored his second at 7:41 of the third with a wrist shot high to the glove side.

Geekie ended Saros’ shutout bid at 9:07 of the third with a wrist shot from close range. Late in the second, Saros denied Geekie’s shot from the slot at the end of a 3-on-1 Carolina rush.

Saros’ best save came with just under 6 minutes remaining in the first, when he denied Jordan Staal’s wrist shot from the low slot, going left to right and swatting away the shot with his blocker.

Haula secured the victory and playoff berth with an empty-net goal with 1:03 remaining in the third.

POINTS STREAK SNAPPED

Entering Saturday, the Hurricanes had earned at least one standings point in the last 13 games, going 9-0-4 over that span, equaling a franchise record.

SLAVIN OUT

Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin played 7:13 of the first period but did not return to the game after the first intermission. The team announced that he would not return due to a lower-body injury.
Entering Saturday. Slavin led all Carolina players in average ice time per game at 23:17.

HITTING 300

Predators defenseman Matt Benning played his 300th career game.

SAROS AGAIN

Saros started his 13th consecutive game in goal for the Predators.

UP NEXT

The teams conclude the regular season Monday night with a rematch at Bridgestone Arena.

Comments

Crime

Blotter: June 21

Ask Us

Ask Us: What is status of ‘speed table’ on Charles Street in Spencer?

Local

East Rowan High graduate killed in motorcycle crash

Local

Political Notebook: Gov. Cooper vetoes Ford-backed bill allowing firearms at churches that are also schools

Crime

Blotter: June 20

News

Body of fourth tuber, age 7, found in North Carolina river

Nation/World

8 kids in youth van among the 13 lives lost to Claudette

Local

Hundreds turn out for annual Juneteenth celebration on newest federal holiday

Local

Between local champions and an upcoming state tournament, pickleball putting Salisbury on map

Business

Business leaders hope to draw big crowd for job fair at West End Plaza

News

Officers cleared in Mooresville shooting

Business

From firefighter to photographer, Brianna Mitschele is ready to capture more moments in downtown Salisbury

News

25 years later, runners reflect on Olympic torch’s trip through Rowan

News

Commissioners to consider designating Newberry Hall House as county historic landmark

Farm & Garden

51st annual Old Southeast Threshers’ Reunion set for July 1-5

Business

Biz Roundup: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Foundation awards grants from Salisbury to Jerusalem

Lifestyle

Kristy Woodson Harvey: For Dad

News

South Salisbury Fire Department activates new weather siren

Faith

Q&A with Bishop Tim Smith

Lifestyle

Library Notes: Meet the ‘Dare Devil Dogs’ in Week 5

College

Wolfpack tops Stanford falls in College World Series opener

Lifestyle

‘Down by the Praise Pond’ shares local author’s faith in debut children’s book

Nation/World

Driver crashes into crowd at Pride parade in Florida; 1 dead

News

Search continues after 3 tubers die, 2 disappear at dam