Nashville rookie Seth Jones broke a 1-1 deadlock with 1:33 remaining in regulation time and the Predators went on to a 2-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Saturday night. Shea Weber opened the game’s scoring on a first period power play but the Canadiens battled back in the second on a goal by Brendan Gallagher. The Canadiens had a Lars Eller goal disallowed after review early in the third setting the stage for the game winner. Shots on goal were 37-25 in favour of the Predators. The three stars were Weber and the goaltenders Carey Price and Pekka Rinne.
Adding It Up –
Missed The Wakeup Call – The Canadiens opened up flat and the Predators took full advantage. Midway through the period they had a 10-1 shots on goal advantage, and their disciplined play forced the Canadiens into three early penalties, two of them for delay of the game.
Own Goal – The Predators tenth shot of the period was banked off Josh Gorges and past Carey Price by Shea Weber at 12:31. Shots on goal at the end of the first period were 14-6 which was a statement not only of the disorganized state of the Canadiens game,, but also how good Carey Price had to be to keep it at 1-0.
Back in Business – Trying to spark his offense, Michel Therrien broke up the Kid Line. It didn’t change Daniel Briere’s game and it cooled off Galchenyuk and Gallagher. Back together and in fine form against the Predators. Fourteen shots in the game for the line, one short of half of the Canadiens total for the night.
Gallagher – Seven minutes into the second period Brendan Gallagher gobbled up a rebound after Eller had one-handed the puck into the crease to tie the game. It was one of nine shots on goal Gallagher was to take on the night.
Officiating – In a game as hard fought as this one, there was bound to be controversy. And there was a boatload of it. Late in the first period, P.K. Subban who is given little licence by officials at the best of times, was called for embellishment after being pulled down by the Predators Erik Nystrom nullifying what would have been a two-man Canadiens advantage.
One for Shanahan – The referees absolutely missed an Erik Nystrom targeted headshot on Daniel Briere in the third minute of the second period. No call on what, at the very least, should have been an interference penalty. This one will draw the attention of the player safety department Monday morning.
Confusion – Early in the third period, Alex Galchenyuk won the puck along the half boards and skated it in front of the net. In the scramble, Lars Eller poked the puck apparently over the line. The referee, Chris Rooney positioned behind the net, signaled a goal. That’s when the fun began. We were told later that the other referee and the linesmen, who stationed nowhere near the play, argued the puck did not cross the line. It went to Toronto for review, which was inconclusive. Usually, the call made on the ice stands. Not this time. No goal! And we thought we had seen everything.
Eller’s Take – “”The puck was inside. (Rinne) had his glove on it, so technically you couldn’t see it was inside. But if it’s not outside the line, it’s got to be inside. That’s only logic.”
Foul Up – The winning goal was an all-out mess. Blown coverage starting with a failure by Travis Moen to get control of the puck along the boards then Subban stripped of the puck by Colin Wilson and then Seth Jones with a clear path to the goal and Carey Price. Game winner.
Another One For the Clinic – Just past the midway point of the third period while forechecking, Brandon Prust fell awkwardly head first into the boards deep in the Nashville zone. Prust left the game favouring his left shoulder and didn’t return. The Canadiens statement- upper body injury. The medical report won’t come until Monday.
Can’t Do It Alone – This is rapidly becoming the year of Carey Price. Without much help, he still managed to stop 35 of 37. After seven starts, his goals against average 2.01 and his save percentage up to .940.
Worth Mentioning – Outside of the Kid Line, the most effective forward was Brian Gionta. ……His centreman Tomas Plekanec did his usual two-way job. ……. Absolutely nothing positive to say about the David Desharnais and Daniel Briere. Between the two of them they generated one shot. Two shots for the line if you include Rene Bourque’s attempt.
Moving On – The Canadiens play three times at home next week starting with Edmonton on Tuesday and two of the California teams, Anaheim and San Jose on Thursday and Saturday respectively.