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Alex Carrier’s Third-Period Heroics Keeps Predators’ Season Alive



Photo of Alex Carrier, left, courtesy of the Nashville Predators

What a difference a week-and-a-half makes.

Just 10 days prior to Tuesday’s Game 5, Nashville Predators defenseman Alex Carrier was the scapegoat for the team’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That night, Carrier let a Connor Garland pass go through his legs right to a wide-open Dakota Joshua, who collected the puck and fired a point-blank shot past Juuse Saros for the go-ahead goal.

His blunder cost the Predators a game they probably should have won.

But Carrier seemingly redeemed himself on Tuesday, scoring the game-winner in Game 5 as the Predators staved off elimination and send the series back to Nashville for Game 6 on Friday.

“I was really happy for him,” Predators head coach Andrew Brunette said of Carrier. “He’s a heart-and-soul kid. Highly competitive, love him, nice to see him get rewarded in a big-time moment and a big-time play.”

Carrier’s goal was set up by a series of events that play began when Filip Forsberg haphazardly fired a shot on goal that was blocked by the pad of Arturs Silov. The puck bounced past Gustav Nyquist, who got it back after Jason Zucker sent it his way in the right corner.

Nyquist froze for half a second, backing off Canucks forward Pius Suter and buying himself just enough time to pivot, turn the corner and fire it off to Carrier at the point.

From there, Carrier loaded up and fired a slapshot that zipped just past J.T. Miller through traffic and into the back of the Vancouver net.

“[It was a] great pass by [Nyquist] going high and then I just saw traffic and took the middle and just shot it,” Carrier said. “[Roman Josi] said it was the hardest shot he’s seen of [mine]. I was just happy that it went in.”

It was Carrier’s eight career playoff point and his first-ever playoff goal. The 27-year-old Quebec City native finished with three blocked shots, one shot on goal, a plus-1 rating and 20:30 of ice time.

Nashville’s go-ahead score came just five minutes and 31 seconds after Josi tied the game on the power play — his first goal of the postseason and Nashville’s first power-play goal since Ryan O’Reilly scored on the team’s PP opportunity back in Game 1, snapping an 0-for-15 slump on the man advantage.

“It was a breakout,” Josi said. “…I had a lot of speed, kicked it out to [Filip Forsberg] and Fil made a great play. He got it right back to me, and I felt like I had a little bit of an opening. I tried to go around the goalie and [the puck] just somehow laid there and I don’t know what happened after, but I just kind of saw it go in, so that’s all that mattered.”

The Predators will likely have an off day Wednesday and practice on Thursday before hosting Game 6 on Friday. A start time has not been announced yet.

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_

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