The Predators put forth a grab-bag performance this Saturday evening facing Montreal at home. After a disastrous first period where they allowed three goals in 5 minutes, they were able to pull it together for a 20 shot, two goal effort in the second period before finally tying it up in the third and dropping the game early in OT. Weber had a good game with a goal and an assist while Jones left the game in the first after taking a puck in the face. He did not return.
Another painful first period at the Bridgestone arena put the Predators far behind the eight ball early. They allowed goals at 11:30, 13:20 and 14:37. The third goal spelled the end to Mazanec's night, who had taken over for Hutton against the lightning after a similar start.
The Preds dug deep though, returning in the second frame to get two tallies, one of which was on the powerplay, and making it a one goal game going into the third. Montreal had an 18-0-2 record when leading after two which was especially discouraging compared to the Preds 0-15-0 record when trailing going into the third.
But it was a power play goal by the captain that knotted the game and got the Preds their first point in the last three contests. Although they dropped the decision early in the additional frame, it was a fairly decent gut check for the team.
– The game tying goal for the Preds didn't come uncontroversially. Hornqvist had just finished drilling Markov from behind with a cross check when Weber got the puck in the high slot and hammered home his 7th powerplay goal of the season. I thought it was going to be an abrupt end to Nashville's second powerplay of the game, but the reffs allowed it. Following the goal the officials were having discussion with team captain Gionta before hearing a bit too much out of Markov and ejecting him from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.
– More on the game tying goal: It put the Preds at 2/2 on the powerplay for the game and also shot Weber into team lead for goals with 9. Weber was tied with Smith for team lead, but the move makes the Predators the only team in the league who's leading scorer is a defenseman. There are only two teams who's leading scorer has equal or fewer than 9: Brad Richards in New York (Rangers) has 9 and Cody Hodgson in Buffalo has 8.
– Hutton was pulled after a shocking effort against Tampa, and Mazanec looked pretty good as a replacement. But it was a 180 degree turn tonight as Mazanec looked bad early and was replaced by Hutton who held down the fort for about 50 minutes of hockey.
– The Preds were absolutely flat in the first. It was unbelievable how bad they played in the first period and their effort in the second showed hat this was clearly a winnable game. Nashville has allowed the first goal in all of their last three losses and have been greatly let down by their first period on each occasion.
– Seth Jones took a heavy puck up to the face in the first period and did not return. It looked like it hit with less force than Weber's injury, but still enough to keep him sidelined for the final two frames. These kinds of injuries are easy to repair, but the issue is always visibility I.E. will the swelling affect his game. Weber missed a couple because of that. Jones might benefit from the Christmas break and miss a few less.
MTL – 1-0 | P.K. Subban – Eller at 11:30 in the 1st
MTL – 2-0 | Max Pacioretty – Gallagher and Emelin at 13:20 in the 1st
MTL – 3-0 | Tomas Plakanec – Gionta at 14:37 in the 1st
NSH- 3-1 | Gabriel Bourque – Cullen and Stalberg at 11:51 in the second
NSH – 3-2 | PP Nick Spaling – Weber and Smith at 18:09 in the 2nd
NSH- 3-3 | PP Shea Weber – Fisher and Hornqvist at 13:40 in the 2nd
MTL – 4-3 | David Desharnais – Unassisted at 1:43 in OT
NSH: Marek Mazanec (L) – 2 saves on 5 shots; played 14:37
Carter Hutton – 17 saves on 18 shots; played 47:06
MTL : Carey Price (W) – 31 saves on 34 shots; played 61:43
My Three Stars
1. Shea Weber : 1G 1A
2. P.K. Subban: 1G
3. Nick Spaling: 1G
Line Up Report
Predators scratches: Bartley, Clune
Predators starters: Wilson, Fisher, Hornqvist, Weber, Jones and Mazanec
Canadiens scratches: Gorges, White, Parros
Canadiens starters: Plekanec, Gionta, Galchenyuk, Bouillon, Subban and Price