One day after the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, the Nashville Predators were short a man.
Paul Gaustad, one of two players acquired on the league’s last day of dealing, was not available Tuesday when the Predators played the Carolina Hurricanes. An injury kept the veteran center and accomplished penalty killer out of action.
Perhaps it was not a coincidence, therefore, that struggles while shorthanded contributed heavily to Nashville’s 4-3 defeat at Carolina.
The Hurricanes went ahead to stay with a pair of power play goals 4:04 apart in the second period. Eric Staal tied it 2-2 12 seconds after Andrei Kostitsyn, the Predators’ other Monday acquisition, was sent off for hooking. Tim Brent then made it 3-2 11 seconds after Shea Weber was called for another hooking violation.
Carolina was 2-for-6 on power play opportunities.
Nashville, on the other hand had the man-advantage only once. Not only did it fail to convert but the Hurricanes went ahead 4-2 seven seconds after that penalty expired.
Gabriel Bourque got the Predators back within one, 4-3, when he scored his fourth goal of the season 2:18 into the final period. The Predators had a 15-7 edge in shots over the final 20 minutes but never got the equalizer.
Bourque finished with a goal and an assist. Craig Smith and Colin Wilson also scored for Nashville. Wilson’s 15th goal of the season gave him 34 points, which tied his career-high set last season.
Kostitsyn, in his first game with the Predators, had no shots in 12:13 of ice time. Only three forwards, including Bourque and Smith, played less.