NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - 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 center 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).
Head Coach Barry Trotz Quotes
On losing another player to injury…
Win a game, lose a player. You look down the bench and there’s not a lot of veteran presence anymore. The young guys are playing well, giving what they’ve got. This is a part of the season where your depth is challenged. Guys have had good schooling in Milwaukee and now they have to step up and play in more determined roles.
On JP Dumont’s shorthanded goal…
They’ve actually been playing well, but in the standings they got off to such a bad start and suffered so many injuries. There’s not a lot of emotion or a lot of history between the two teams, but they came out and got the first goal. We took some penalties, and it was hard to get going. That shorthanded goal by JP was huge for us. We were fighting an uphill battle – it felt like we were in mud.
On Patric Hornqvist’s performance so far this season…
I think you see the seasoning that young players need sometimes. Last year the play was just too fast for him. He’s got that extra step now; he’s got that extra confidence. The game has slowed down for him – he makes plays, and he does some of the things he was comfortable doing in the American Hockey League. He’s having a good run.
He’s been one of the more consistent players. He had a stretch for six or eight games where his play really fell off, but he’d be [one of our midseason MVPs].
On the dangers of playing against the NHL’s last-place team…
It was a trap game. I wasn’t happy with our emotional attitude this morning, and I let everybody know it.
There’s not a lot of quit in that Carolina team. We were up 4-1 and they were still pressing. It felt like we were the ones losing the hockey game.
Forward Patric Hornqvist
On having a tough first period…
We got two big points and that’s all that matters. This is a tough season. Because of the Olympics we are playing lots of games but we have a good group of guys and it should be no problem for us. Of course it’s tough, but we have good players in Milwaukee that can come up and play.
On having two power play goals…
It was big for us but in the end we didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked. We didn’t score so it was nice to see the two goals go in so we have to keep working hard.
On crashing the net…
Yeah, that is my role there and I’m not going to change it. I’m going to be in the front and I’m going to be hard to play against every night.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On having a successful season so far and bouncing back from adversity…
There are going to be some losses. You can’t win them all. We try to win every game so right now we have the right mindset and a good confidence level so we are playing good hockey right now and it’s a lot of fun.
On the tough hit Sullivan took in the third…
I don’t think that he meant to hurt Sully. It was unfortunate. I think usually the refs do a pretty good job with those, but I can’t really say too much about it until I see it again. Let’s hope Sully is all right.
On playing against Carolina…
Well, we knew that they were missing some key guys tonight and making a push for the playoffs so they have been playing some good hockey lately.
On having a tough start to the game…
The start wasn’t exactly the start we wanted to make and we spent too much time in the box but I think the guys did a great job. Yes we won 4-2, but we have to give credit to Pekka tonight because he did an excellent job for us.
On getting the shorthanded goal in the first period…
Sutes (Ryan Suter) made a great play. Their defense can step up on you so it was just a great play. It was just a big play from the start, with a big save by Pekka. It was a big play.