The Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens put on a show on Saturday night, as the Preds rebounded from a three-goal deficit to force overtime, before David Desharnais won it for the Habs.
Montreal started things off with a three-goal opening period, with P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec all scoring in the first 15 minutes of play.
Nashville used a 20-shot second period to pull within a goal after 40 minutes. Matt Cullen and Viktor Stalberg went to work in the far corner, before Cullen connected with Gabriel Bourque, who fired a wrist shot from the slot at 11:51 of the second. Less than seven minutes later, it was Nick Spaling who kept the ball rolling for Nashville. With Desharnais in the box for high-sticking, Craig Smith and Shea Weber worked the puck around on the power play before finding Spaling for the goal. The marker was Nashville’s sixth power-play goal in its last five outings.
It was Weber who would play the hero late in the third to force overtime. Patric Hornqvist and Mike Fisher battled for the puck behind Carey Price with Fisher emerging it. Fisher then slid a pass to Weber in the slot for a blast past Price.
The score would remain tied at three after 60-minutes of play.
In the extra frame, Nashville held the advantage for the first minute of overtime, before Mattias Ekholm was pulled to the ice, allowing Desharnais to break-in all alone to roof a shot past Carter Hutton for the game winner.
Two Big Things and Notes:
Power-play Prowess: The Nashville Predators picked up their seventh power-play goal in their last five games with goals from Nick Spaling and Shea Weber. Seven of Nashville’s last 11 goals have come on the man advantage. After going two-for-two on Saturday night, the Nashville power play remains among the League’s best (seventh, 21 percent). The Preds are now 13-2-2 when they score a power-play goal. Shea Weber, who tallied his franchise-leading 56th career power-play goal, leads the team with 13 points (7g-6a) on the man advantage this season.
Weber and Smith: Shea Weber pocketed his second multi-point game (1g-1a) in his last five outings on Saturday night, and has tallied eight points (2g-6a) in his last seven games since returning from injury earlier this month. Nashville’s captain is now tied for the goal-scoring lead (9) among defensemen with Erik Karlsson (OTT) and Zdeno Chara (BOS). He is also the only defenseman to lead his team in goal scoring.
Craig Smith has posted four points (2g-2a) in his last four outings, and has recorded 11 points (5g-6a) in his last 14 outings. Weber (9g-11a-20pts) and Smith (8g-11a-19pts) rank second and third respectively in team scoring.
Nashville entered the game with the 10th-best penalty kill in the NHL and killed both minor penalties assessed against the team, keeping the Canadiens to a single shot.
The Predators continue to be the NHL’s best team in the face-off circle this season, now clicking at a 54.5 percent success rate. Nashville won the face-off battle by a margin of 40-25.
Goaltender Carter Hutton made his fourth relief appearance of the season. He has stopped 56 of 58 shots in 132 minutes of relief action in 2013-14.
Rimouski, Quebec native Gabriel Bourque put the Preds on the scoreboard with his goal at 11:51 – his first career point against the team from his home province (2 GP).
Nick Spaling’s sixth goal of the season was his first on the power play.
Mike Fisher was dominant in the face-off circle, winning 17 of 19 draws.
Defenseman Roman Josi led all skaters with seven shots on goal – a career high.