Raleigh, NC – The Nashville Predators fell to the Carolina Hurricanes this afternoon behind 21 year old Sebastian Aho’s hat trick, 6-3.
The 21 year old took center stage while an old nemesis in net, Petr Mrazek, stonewalled the Predators for the win. Mrazek has beaten the Predators 7 times dating back to his days with the Detroit Red WIngs.
Aho put the ‘Canes on the board at 15:44 of the first period when he took the puck in the neutral zone and beat Pekka Rinne through the five-hole for the early 1-0 lead.
Saku Maenalanen put Carolina ahead 2-0 at 18:15 of the opening frame, taking a feed from Justin Faulk and firing a laser top shelf past Rinne.
Early into the second period, Colton Sissons finally got Nashville on the scoreboard at 2:48 taking a feed from Roman Josi and tapping the puck past Mrazek and the Preds were within a goal, 2-1.
But here comes Aho again, just twenty seconds after the Sissons goal, the star of the game took a cross ice feed for the one timer and the ‘Canes had their two goal lead again, 3-1.
Lucas Wallmark extended the Carolina lead to 4-1 on a quick snapshot at 8:35 of the period and the score extended to a three goal lead, 4-1.
Justin Williams then took a shot on goal that bounced off of Mattias Ekholm at 10:11 of the second period and into the net and it was 5-1 Carolina.
Nashville’s Filip Forsberg did his best to bring the Predators back into this game when at 14:42 of the second, he scored a shorthanded goal and the score was 5-2.
Forsberg would score again at 13:33 of the final period on a wrist shot past Mrazek and suddenly it was 5-3 with plenty of time left for the comeback.
After Nashville pulled Juuse Saros from goal for the 6 on 4 advantage, Carolina’s Aho beat P.K Subban to the loose puck and scored the empty netter for the final score and completing the hat trick, 6-3.
While a disappointing loss, overall, the road trip was a success for the Predators. picking up 8 of a possible 12 points.
Nashville returns to the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night to host the Washington Capitals. Puck drops at 7:00pm.