Hanifin and Hurricanes start fast in 4-1 win over Predators

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

By JIM DIAMOND

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A fast start by Carolina spelled an early exit for Pekka Rinne.

Noah Hanifin had a goal and two assists to lead an early outburst that carried the Hurricanes past the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Thursday night.

Derek Ryan had a goal and an assist, and Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won four of five. Cam Ward made 28 saves.

Kevin Fiala got the goal for Nashville, which has lost two straight.

"We're not playing hard enough and we're undisciplined," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's a bad combination."

Carolina scored four times in the first 6 1/2 minutes to chase Rinne.

"It was important that we got off to a good start and I think it couldn't have gotten off to a better start with the way it went in the first period," Ward said. "That's a team that's not going to quit even though it was 4-0."

Ryan scored the opening goal 37 seconds into the game on a power play. Just seven seconds after Nashville's Nick Bonino was sent to the penalty box for hooking, Ryan was able to tip Hanifin's shot from the left circle low to the far side of Rinne.

"Definitely one of those periods where everything we touched seemed to be going in," Ryan said. "We talk about that in lots of game plans, especially tonight against a good goaltender like Nashville has, so we want to get pucks and bodies to the net and make sure we make it hard on him. I thought we did that."

Lindholm doubled the lead at 3:11 with a deflection of Jeff Skinner's wrist shot from above the right circle. Skinner had two assists.

Hanifin made it 3-0 at 4:47 when his slap shot from above the left circle deflected off the skate of Nashville defenseman Roman Josi and by Rinne on a Carolina power play.

The Hurricanes finished 2 for 6 with the man advantage.

Rinne's night ended at 6:29 when Rask's seemingly harmless backhand from the right boards took a bad hop in front and then squeezed between Rinne's right leg pad and blocker. Rinne, who stopped just two of six shots, was replaced by Juuse Saros.

"We got some power-play opportunities and capitalized on those and then got a bounce, too. We got a lucky one," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "We've been on the other side of that, so we took advantage of that."

Saros turned away all 26 shots he faced.

Fiala got Nashville on the scoreboard at 15:33 of the first when P.K. Subban's slap shot from above the right circle deflected off him in front and by Ward.

Fiala extended his career-high point streak to nine games.

"It's not panic for us," Fiala said. "We're still on top, but we've got to change something because it's going to be fast. The standings are quite close. We've got to be much better."

Nashville had a two-man advantage for 56 seconds late in the second period, but failed to generate a shot on Ward.

NOTES: The Predators have lost consecutive home games in regulation for the first time this season. ... Nashville RW Craig Smith missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury. ... Hurricanes D Justin Faulk got his 200th career point. ... Carolina is 13-3-2 when scoring first.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Predators: At the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

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Updated December 22, 2017

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