The Nashville Predators' swing through Eastern Canada got off to an exciting start. It's about to get much tougher.
The Predators will try to post their first win in Montreal as they face the Canadiens on Saturday night.
Since entering the league in 1998, Nashville (12-9-2) has recorded a road win against each team but is 0-3-1 all-time at the Bell Centre, where they'll take the ice for the first time since a 5-4 overtime defeat on Dec. 18, 2003.
The Predators began their road trip on Thursday with a 6-5 victory over Ottawa in which both teams combined for six goals in the final period and two in the last minute. Nashville goaltender Dan Ellis gave up Daniel Alfredsson's tally with 45.4 seconds to play that tied the score at 5, but Martin Erat provided the winning margin with 22.2 seconds left.
"There was no panic, actually," said Nashville's J.P. Dumont, who had a goal and three assists during a career high-tying four-point night. "All game long we tried to keep our composure on the bench and it worked pretty well for us tonight.
"Of course, if we do that too many nights, we're going to get burned."
Dumont has two goals and three assists in his last two games against the Canadiens (13-9-3), and the Montreal native also has three goals and three assists during a four-game streak at the Bell Center.
Erat also had two assists and extended his points streak to four games, during which he's had three goals and four assists. He leads the Preds with 16 assists and 24 points.
With the win, Ellis improved to 5-0-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average. Neither he nor No. 1 starter Chris Mason, who's 7-9-2 with a 3.07 GAA, have ever faced the Canadiens.
Nashville's David Legwand failed to record a point for a season-high fourth straight game. With his next point, he will pass former teammate Kimmo Timonen as the franchise's all-time leader in career scoring, but Legwand - with 301 points - also has only one assist in three games at Montreal.
The Predators will wrap up their road trip against Toronto on Tuesday, and by then, the sale of the team to a Nashville venture capital firm could be completed. The league's board of governors approved the sale on Thursday during meetings in California.
Montreal returns home after a 4-0 loss to New Jersey on Friday. The shutout loss was the Canadiens' second in three games as they also fell for the third time in four games overall.
Rookie goaltender Carey Price had no answer for the Devils' Zach Parise, who had a hat trick and an assist. Montreal's offense, meanwhile, couldn't solve Martin Brodeur, who moved into a tie with George Hainsworth for second all-time with his 94th career shutout.
Though Price is considered the Canadiens' goaltender of the future, coach Guy Carbonneau likely will have Cristobal Huet start this contest. In 2004 while with Los Angeles, Huet made 21 saves in a 3-0 win in his only career start versus Nashville.
Huet has struggled recently, going 1-4-0 with a 2.62 GAA.