MONTREAL - The Canadiens dug themselves a 4-0 hole they couldn't climb out of, falling 4-2 to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
It was the first game back at the Bell Centre since Henri Richard passed away, and the Canadiens paid tribute to the legendary former captain and 11-time Stanley Cup winner prior to puck drop.
It was also Country Night presented by LASSO Montreal at the Bell Centre, to mark the upcoming first-ever country music festival in Montreal which takes place on August 14-15 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
Although it was the power play that Claude Julien was trying to jumpstart in the lead-up to Tuesday's game, it was the Canadiens' penalty kill that got put to the test in the first. Nashville had a pair of power play opportunities, but despite registering four shots on goal with the man advantage, the Preds couldn't convert on either Montreal penalty.
In fact, neither team would get on the board at all in the first, and they headed to the room locked in a scoreless tie with Nashville leading 14-7 in shots.
Ryan Johansen opened the scoring for the Predators just 51 seconds into the middle frame.
Just 2:06 later, Nashville doubled its lead when Calle Jarnkrok beat Carey Price right off the faceoff to make it 2-0.
With Joel Armia in the box for tripping, Filip Forsberg added a third one for the Preds as the game approached the halfway mark.
Forsberg got his second of the night with exactly 4:00 remaining in the second.
After 40, Nashville was leading 4-0 and was ahead 32-21 in shots.
Artturi Lehkonen finally broke the ice for the Canadiens early in the third. After Xavier Ouellet took a shot from near the outside hashmarks, Lehkonen recovered the puck and jammed it past Nashville starter Juuse Saros to get the Habs on the board and break Saros' shutout streak that spanned more than 180 minutes.
It was Lehkonen's 13th goal of the season, his second-highest total since he lit the lamp 18 times in his rookie season.
Ouellet and Nick Suzuki got assists on the goal.
The Habs cut the Predators' lead down to two with 11:20 left in regulation. From behind the net, Dale Weise fed Lukas Vejdemo in the slot to help the Swedish rookie pot his first career NHL goal.
This was Vejdemo's seventh game in the big leagues.
Weise and fellow rookie Jake Evans earned helpers on the momentous marker.