NASHVILLE – J.P. Dumont’s first short-handed goal in the regular season came at the perfect time for the Nashville Predators.
The Carolina Hurricanes led by a goal and had a power play in the first period when Francis Bouillon pulled the puck out of the crease from behind Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. Bouillon passed it to Alexander Sulzer, who moved it to Dumont for a 2-on-1 rush before scoring.
The Panthers rallied and beat Carolina 4-2 on Thursday night.
“The short-handed goal was just huge for us,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We were sort of fighting an uphill battle. That gave us some jump.”
Dumont gave the credit to Rinne.
“It was just a big play from the start with a big save by Pekka. It was a big play,” Dumont said.
Patric Hornqvist scored two power-play goals and had an assist. Steve Sullivan had a goal and an assist as the Predators won for the fourth time in five games. This was the lone meeting between the teams this season, and Nashville has won three straight in this series.
Rod Brind’Amour and Tom Kostopoulos each scored for Carolina, which snapped a two-game winning streak on the road after being the NHL’s last team to win away from home. The Hurricanes dropped to 3-14-4 on the road in their first game without centre Eric Staal, who is on leave due to the death of his sister-in-law.
Carolina coach Paul Maurice wasn’t happy the Hurricanes took so many penalties. They took six of the last seven, and Andrew Alberts was given a major penalty and ejected for checking Sullivan into the boards in the third period.
“You don’t like to see your team take them, and I’m not arguing them. But it’s the difference in the game,” Maurice said. “Our margin for error, if you’ve got six NHL players out of the game, our margin for error is pretty thin. The penalty box swings it.”
Brind’Amour gave Carolina a 1-0 lead when he scored his third goal of the season with a wrister off a rebound of Jerome Samson’s shot at 2:52 of the first period.
“He buried one for us,” Kostopoulos said. “It gave us some momentum. I thought we were going pretty well, but then the penalties kind of took over. They got a little momentum out of their calls, and we didn’t get much out of ours.”
It got messy with a combined 14 penalty minutes in the period, including Hornqvist’s double minor for high-sticking Tim Gleason. Carolina had a 4-on-3 power play for 1:49, and Maurice took his timeout with 31 seconds left. The Hurricanes couldn’t score, and forward Matt Cullen was penalized for tripping Nashville’s Kevin Klein as he chased the puck.
As Cullen came out of the penalty box, Dumont was skating on a 2-on-0 breakaway. Cullen tried to disrupt Dumont, who kept going and beat goalie Cam Ward through the legs with a wrister at 13:45 that tied it at 1. Cullen went back to the box with 42 seconds left in the period, and that was enough for the Predators to take the lead.
Shea Weber’s slap shot in the high slot went over the post, and Hornqvist tapped in his 15th this season. The power-play goal gave Nashville a 2-1 edge with 24 seconds left in the first.
Sullivan padded the lead with 1:10 remaining in the second. Hornqvist got the puck at the boards, then skated toward the back of the net. He sent a pass from near the post to Sullivan at the edge of the right circle for his 10th goal this season.
Sullivan left the game with 8:44 remaining after Alberts checked him into the boards behind the net. Sullivan lay on the ice for a couple minutes before skating off, bent over. Hornqvist scored seconds later to make it 4-1.
Trotz said Sullivan shouldn’t miss much time, but called him doubtful for Saturday’s game against Anaheim. Sullivan will be re-evaluated Friday.
NOTES: Hornqvist, a Swedish Olympian, has 15 points (10 goals, five assists) in his last 12 games. … Nashville is 6-2-1 against the Eastern Conference. … Nashville RW Joel Ward sat out because of a lower-body strain. … Sergei Samsonov (upper body) and Scott Walker (upper body) missed a second straight game for Carolina. … The Predators improved to 8-3-1-1 against Carolina, including 5-1-0 at home. … Sullivan has scored in each of his two games against the Hurricanes. … Nashville was perfect on the penalty kill for a fourth straight game (4 for 4).