Nedeljkovic made 22 saves to earn his second shutout in his last three outings and help hand Penguins counterpart Dustin Tokarski his first regulation loss with any team since Feb. 2. Nedeljkovic’s shutouts, the first of which was on Nov. 15, are also the two most recent wins for the Checkers, who tonight snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) that matched their longest of the season.
The result snapped a six-game winning streak for the Penguins, who secured the services of Tokarski, along with former Checkers head coach Mike Vellucci, during the offseason shortly following Charlotte’s championship victory. New Checkers coach Ryan Warsofsky also leaves with bragging rights over his brother David, a veteran Penguins defenseman and team captain.
This was the first of four meetings this season between the two squads, with one more match-up in Wilkes-Barre set to take place before the Penguins make their lone trip to Charlotte for games on Jan. 24 and 25.
After a slow start to the game, Charlotte seized control of the momentum midway through the first period, at one point taking 13 consecutive shots on goal and building a 22-8 shots advantage after two periods with nothing to show for it against Tokarski, who went 12-0-0 during his four-month tenure with the Checkers last season.
The Penguins would answer back to start the third period, with Nedeljkovic taking control as the home team took 14 shots against just five for the Checkers in the final frame.
On the back of those saves and five consecutive penalties killed by Charlotte, Priskie finally made the breakthrough with a rocket from the right circle that got the Checkers back in the win column as they prepare to head back home.