Luke Kunin of Chesterfield, MO scored his first career National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoff overtime winner on Sunday. Kunin scored at 16:10 of the second overtime period from Mikael Granlund of Oulu, Finland, and Calle Jarnkrok of Gavle, Sweden as the Nashville Predators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. With the win, the best-out-of-seven Central Division semifinal is now tied at two games apiece.
For Kunin, it was his second goal of the game, as he opened the scoring from Ryan Ellis of Hamilton, Ontario, and Granlund at the 57-second mark of the first period. Kunin was one of three Predators players to have a multi-point game. The others were Mattias Ekholm of Borlange, Sweden, and Granlund, who each had two assists. The other Predators to score a goal were Canadians Ryan Johansen of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Nick Cousins of Belleville, Ontario.
Kunin had two game-winning goals for the Predators in the regular season. He scored from Jarnkrok and Granlund at 16:24 of the second period in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on April 23, and from Granlund and Ellis at 7:41 of the third period in a 3-1 Predators win over the Hurricanes on May 8. Just like the game on Sunday, Kenin scored twice for the Predators in their win over the Hurricanes earlier this month to close out the regular season.
The Predators entered the playoffs with 64 points, and 16 fewer points than the Hurricanes, which led the Central Division with 80 points. So far they have helped shrunk the series from a best of seven series, to a best of three series. It was the second straight game in the series the Predators won in double overtime at home. On Friday, the Predators beat the Hurricanes 5-4 on an overtime winner by Matt Duchene of Haliburton, Ontario. The series now shifts to Carolina on Tuesday.