Nashville Predators' offense falters early in loss to first-place Carolina Hurricanes

Will Backus
Nashville Tennessean

The Nashville Predators lost 4-1 to the first-place Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night in PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Nashville's Erik Haula scored a shorthanded goal with about 10:30 to go in the third period, cutting into Carolina's 3-1 lead. But it was too late, as Carolina's Sebastian Aho was able to net a goal off of a power play with about three minutes left to seal the Hurricanes' win. 

Preds goalie Juuse Saros had an uncharacteristic night, allowing more than two goals for the first time in five games. His 86.2% save percentage was the lowest mark since a loss to Carolina on March 2, in which he saved just 80% of Carolina's attempts.

Nashville remained four points ahead of Chicago for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central. The Blackhawks lost 4-1 to the last-place Red Wings.

Nashville plays again at Carolina on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.