Sullivan's two goals overcome Price's stellar performance
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:16 AM
played the game of his life in Nashville. Unfortunately for the Montreal Canadiens
, it wasn't enough to win.
Price tied a franchise record by stopping 53 shots, but Steve Sullivan beat him twice and Pekka Rinne
made 20 saves as the Predators blanked the Canadiens 2-0 Saturday night.
"It would have been nice to be able to get a win," said Price, who equaled the save total of Wayne Thomas on Oct. 3, 1974, against Pittsburgh. "I was here to get two points, not a record."
Sullivan scored by backhanding his own rebound past Price 10:48 into the game -- the only goal allowed by Price on 24 first-period shots -- and one-timed the rebound of Shea Weber
's shot into the net with 7:01 left in regulation during a 5-on-3 power play to give the Predators a little breathing room.
"Right from the first drop of the puck, we were ready to play," said Sullivan, who matched his goal production from the Predators' first 17 games. "We were able, right from the puck drop, to take it to Montreal."
Nashville outshot Montreal 55-20 as Predators won for the second consecutive game and sixth in their last eight.
"I just thought we skated. We played to our identity," said Nashville coach Barry Trotz, whose team began a five-game homestand after a four-game road trip. "If you look back to our trip to California, I think we outshot everybody. We skated really well, we were first to pucks, we were really hard, we were firm, and we had net presence. Obviously we’d like to have a little more finish."
Montreal, which made only its sixth visit ever to the Sommet Center, has dropped four of six. The 55 shots allowed were two fewer than the most ever allowed by the Canadiens in a game.
"They threw a lot of pucks at the net," Price said. "I'm sure that's what their coach told them to do."
Nashville outshot Montreal 24-4 in the opening period and 18-6 in the second for a 42-10 advantage through 40 minutes. Price's best save came with early in the second period, when he stretched from left to right to stop a backdoor power-play shot by Sullivan.
Sullivan admitted the Predators were a little nervous about having only a one-goal lead entering the third period despite completely dominating the game.
"We felt some pressure," he said. "That's when you usually get a bad bounce against you and they tie the game and the momentum shifts.
"But we were peppering him with shots. We knew he was giving up some rebounds, so we tried to really keep crashing the net -- and we got another one."
At the other end, Rinne wasn't tested often as he earned his second shutout of the season and ninth of his career. He best stops came early in the third when he stopped Maxim Lapierre and Tomas Plekanec
The 55 shots are a franchise record for Nashville, as were the 24 shots in the first period.
"I don't know how many times in an NHL season that many shots are given up," Montreal forward Mike Cammalleri
said. "The two goals obviously weren't his fault -- they could have had eight or nine."
Trotz said Sullivan's second goal was a backbreaker.
"Getting the second goal just killed their will," he said. "If you looked at their bench when we scored the second goal, it was game, set, and match.