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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 5th (All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (18-18-6) at Carolina Hurricanes (17-16-9), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Carolina Hurricanes will aim for their first four- game winning streak since last season when they welcome the Nashville Predators for Sunday's battle at PNC Arena.
Carolina has matched a season-high with three consecutive wins and another victory tonight would give the club its first four-game winning streak since Feb. 28-March 5 of last season.
After winning two straight in overtime, the Hurricanes notched a 3-2 road regulation win Saturday against the New York Islanders. Brett Sutter scored the game winner in the second period as the Hurricanes held off the Islanders for at Nassau Coliseum.
The win did come at a cost, however, as captain Eric Staal left the game due to a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return. The star centerman, who leads the Hurricanes with 35 points in 42 games this season, expects to be a game-time decision on Sunday.
"He will get assessed tonight and hopefully we will know his status tomorrow," said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller.
Staal's younger brother, Jordan, added a goal in Saturday's win, as did Manny Malhotra, while Patrick Dwyer had a pair of assists for the Hurricanes. Anton Khudobin made 38 saves in the win.
With No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward still out with a lower-body issue, Justin Peters could get the start in net on Sunday. Otherwise, Khudobin will get the call on consecutive days.
After notching their last two wins on the road, the Hurricanes will try to keep heading in the right direction in today's home tilt. Carolina is 8-8-5 as the host this season.
While Carolina aims for its longest win streak of the season, the Predators hope to avoid a third straight loss on Sunday. Nashville is 0-0-2 so far in 2014, losing in overtime at Boston on Thursday before dropping a shootout decision Saturday at Florida.
Although the Predators lost for the seventh time in nine game on Saturday, the club did well to earn a point in the 5-4 setback against the Panthers. Nashville trailed 4-2 midway through the third period, but were able to rally to force overtime.
Seth Jones cut the deficit to 4-3 with 5:08 left in regulation and Paul Gaustad tied it with 47.1 seconds left after putting home a rebound of a Shea Weber shot from the point. However, Tomas Kopecky scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the extra point to the Panthers.
Craig Smith and Mike Fisher also scored in regulation for the Predators, while Marek Mazanec made 25 saves in the loss.
"Obviously it was good for us to come back," said Weber. "But we're digging ourselves holes and making mistakes we shouldn't be."
Nashville suffered its fourth straight road loss and will try to halt that streak when it closes a three-game swing tonight in Raleigh. The Preds are 8-10-3 as the visiting team this season.
Although Nashville has claimed seven of the last 10 meetings in the series against the Hurricanes, Carolina did notch a 5-2 road win over the Predators on Dec. 5. Jeff Skinner recorded a hat trick for the 'Canes in that lopsided win.
Carolina has won its last two tilts against Nashville following a six-game slide in the matchup.
01/05 10:37:49 ET