Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 2)

Nashville leads 2-0

Game 1: Friday, September 22nd
Game 2: Saturday, September 23rd

Predators 5

(2-1-0, 4 pts)

Hurricanes 4

(0-0-1, 1 pts)

7:00 PM ET, September 22, 2006

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 OT T
NSH 3 1 1 5
CAR 2 1 1 4

R. Whitney (LW):

A. Ladd (LW):

K. Staal (LW):

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press