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Hurricanes lose in first game since winning Stanley Cup

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Josef Vasicek scored on a short-handed
breakaway late in the third period Friday night to lead the
Nashville Predators to a 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Kim Staal scored twice for the Predators (2-1), who won their
second straight preseason game.

Ray Whitney scored two goals to lead the Hurricanes, who
returned to the ice for the first time since winning the Stanley
Cup three months ago.

The big scorer for the Predators was Staal, a 28-year-old left
wing who played in Sweden last season. But Vasicek made the biggest
play to stun his former team, which traded him to the Predators for
forward Scott Walker in July.

With the Hurricanes on a brief power play, the Predators got a
short-handed push up ice with Scott Hartnell finding Vasicek, who
beat Cam Ward at 18:55 of the third.

It hardly seemed like much of a summer break for the Hurricanes,
who beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in Game 7 of the finals on June
19. They had the enviable problem of trying to cram in countless
celebrations and travels with the Cup while the front office had a
busy offseason trying to keep together the core of the championship
team.

Several members of that group sat out, including 100-point star
Eric Staal and Justin Williams. They were also without winger Cory
Stillman and defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, who are recovering from
shoulder surgeries that are expected to keep them out for several
months.

The Predators got off to a quick start, with Staal scoring twice
in the opening 3:47 to help the Predators take a 3-0 lead. The
Hurricanes -- showing a knack for comebacks that they had throughout
last year -- answered with three straight to tie it on Andrew Ladd's
score at 8:39 of the second.

After the Predators took the lead on Ramzi Abid's goal midway
through the second, Whitney scored on the power play to tie it
again with about 8 minutes left.

The teams will play the second half of a home-and-home set
Saturday, but do not meet in the regular season.