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Mully's Musings: vs. Montreal

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
You kind of had that feeling coming in.

Nashville was coming off a successful five-game road trip, with four of those coming on the West Coast. Working on limited rest and an earlier-than-normal start time, the Predators hit the home ice with a little less jump that they typically have. Coach Barry Trotz even quipped afterwards that the game started at 6 p.m., but the team didn’t start playing until 7 p.m.

It resulted in a 2-1 overtime loss to Montreal in Nashville’s 1000th regular season home game. Still, the Predators earned a point, something they’ve done in seven of their last eight games. Now Nashville can settle in, get back to a normal routine, and try to take advantage of playing the next four games at home, beginning with Washington on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.

On to the musings…

Shoots and scores: It took defenseman Shea Weber 10 games before he scored his first goal of the season. It came against Anaheim on Oct. 29. Then the captain went five more games without a goal. That was until Saturday when he fired a puck past the Habs’ Peter Budaj at 3:20 of the second to tie it at 1-1. Weber hadn’t shown any frustration from not netting goals recently, and he has been producing in other ways on offense. He had three assists in a two-game span on the recent road trip, and has continued to play the All-Star caliber defense than everyone has come to expect. But after scoring on Saturday, expect Weber’s juices to get flowing as he looks to up his goal total.

A save and a point: The talents of goaltender Pekka Rinne have been widely documented. But what’s most impressive is his ability to be at his best when it counts most. With the score tied 1-1 and 20 seconds remaining in regulation, Montreal’s Erik Cole had a great scoring chance to win the game and earn two points for his team. But Rinne made a spectacular save to keep it tied, essentially getting Nashville to overtime to earn the point. It was similar to what Rinne did three games ago at San Jose, where he made a great save on a shot by Joe Pavelski with under a minute to go in regulation. Nashville went on to win 4-3 in overtime.

Big celebration: There was a palpable sense of pride and accomplishment in Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. It was the 1000th regular season game for the Predators and the sold-out crowd of 17,113 had plenty to cheer about, even though Montreal exited with the victory. David Legwand, who is still out with an upper-body injury, dropped the ceremonial first puck, longtime employees and season-ticket holders were honored, and fans could chart the club’s growth on the Megatron where clips were shown of past years. As the Preds look forward, there is much more they want to accomplish. And it’s nice for them to know there is stability from the top to the bottom as 2011-12 continues.

G Pekka Rinne: “They’re a good team. They played well, and I think we played well, too. The atmosphere was really good for our 1000th game. In these games, you want to win them for the fans. We did everything we could for a win, but ended up a little short.”

Coach Barry Trotz: “Coming back from a long road trip, everyone is a little lethargic in the first period. We always have 7 p.m. games, and this one started at 6 p.m. We started playing at 7 p.m. but were able to survive that first period a little bit.”

D Shea Weber: “We talked about trying not to make any excuses about the travel or the time change, but we obviously came out a little sluggish.”

F Max Pacioretty, Montreal: Game-winning goal, +2 rating
D Shea Weber, Nashville: 1 goal, +1 rating, game-high 28:33
F David Desharnais, Montreal: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating

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