FINAL (SO) | Game 23, Away Game 12 | Wednesday November 22, 2017 
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

2-3

PREDATORS
Nashville

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Pacioretty – Drouin – Galchenyuk
Byron – Danault – Shaw
Hudon – Plekanec – Gallagher 
Deslauriers – De La Rose – Froese

Benn – Morrow
Alzner – Petry
Jerabek – Davidson

Goaltenders

Niemi
Lindgren

Scratches

Torrey Mitchell, Victor Mete

Injuries

David Schlemko – hand, Ales Hemsky – concussion, Nikita Scherbak – knee,  Carey Price – lower-body, Al Montoya – concussion, Artturi Lehkonen – lower-body, Shea Weber – lower-body

Game Report

When a loss is a win, sorta.

For one night, anyway, the torches were extinguished. The cries to run every single Canadiens player out of Montreal were muted. And the talk about the Thanksgiving playoff milestone was temporarily shelved.

There were even whispers of a turnaround. Well, let’s not get carried away.

The mood of Habs fans was upbeat given that their expectations for this game were so low. It was anticipated that the powerhouse Predators would mop the floor with the fragile Canadiens coming into this game. And if the outlook wasn’t already dim with Carey Price nursing an injury, we learned late in the afternoon that Shea Weber would not be in the lineup.

After a day of travel from the Canadian north, Jakub Jerabek arrived in Nashville to play in his first NHL game. And Charlie Lindgren gave way to Antti Niemi, who started between the pipes with his 6.67 goals against average this season.

The popular bet for the result of the game was somewhere between massive embarrassment and colossal blowout.

But, by managing to play better than those dismal expectations, fans took some consolation that their bruised and beaten team competed with last year’s Stanley Cup finalist.

Many times, the coverage in their own zone wasn’t pretty and every shot seemed to be an adventure for the fourth-string goaltender but the Habs stuck with it.

And when the Predators played a little casual with the Canadiens net empty, a seeing-eye shot from Joe Morrow sent the match into extra time.

Taking one point from this game was reason to celebrate, I suppose.  But the reality remains that this isn’t a very good hockey team.

American Thanksgiving has arrived and the Canadiens are looking up through far too many teams to expect a run to a playoff spot would be anything other than miraculous.

Montreal’s top line isn’t producing and their number one centre isn’t a threat to score or win a faceoff — just 15 per cent at the dot tonight.

Special teams are anything but special. An early 5-on-3 power-play went nowhere and the penalty-kill gave up goals on 50 per cent of Nashville’s chances.

And the makeshift defence looks like it could come undone at any moment. Shea Weber is desperately needed back in the lineup.

The Canadiens head back home to host the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre on Saturday. It will be a meeting between teams with the 2nd and 3rd worst goal differentials in the league. Another dose of reality after tonight’s moral victory.

~~~

▲     Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Charles Hudon, Jakub Jerabek

▼    Brandon Davidson, Nicolas Deslauriers, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin, Paul Byron

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   PREDATORS
29 Shots 33
41% Face-offs 59%
0-for-4 Power Play 2-for-4
12 Penalty Minutes 12
22 Hits 24
50 Corsi For 59
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (8-12-3) 1 0 1 0 0 2
 Predators (13-6-2) 1 0 1 0 1 3
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Benn (2), Morrow (3)
  • NSH: Forsberg (10)-PP, Forsberg (11)-PP. Game-deciding goal: Turris
  • MTL: Niemi (L) 0-4-1
  • NSH: Rinne (W) 12-3-2
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
 

  1. Filip Forsberg  NSH
  2. Kyle Turris  NSH
  3. Pekka Rinne  NSH

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Claude Julien

  • “We needed some energy in goal tonight, and that’s what he brought. [Antti Niemi]  was very good tonight. He gave us a chance to win the game by making some huge saves. We had a fresh goaltender available, and he helped [earn us the point].”

Max Pacioretty

  • “We played the way we wanted to play, but [the Predators] won the skills competition. Sometimes those go either way. We liked the resiliency we showed to be able to come back with a little bit of bounce at the end, but we’re not looking for moral victories. We’re trying to get points wherever we can.”
  • “Nemo played awesome. A lot of big saves. Especially in the first period. He allowed us to gain some momentum and score that goal. He played great and we wanted to win for him because of that strong play that he showed.”

Jakub Jerabek

  • “It was a great experience, and I really enjoyed it. I got some more shifts in the second period, which helped me feel more comfortable. If I play more games I will continue to get better.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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