Saturday, November 12, 2011

Habs spoil Preds' celebration

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Nashville Predators in overtime by a score of 2-1 in front of a sold out crowd at Bridgestone Arena. Max Pacioretty got the game-winning goal for the Canadiens in overtime.

Nashville celebrated regular season game number 1,000 against Montreal on Saturday night. It was a playoff like atmosphere from the very beginning, and the crowd was extremely loud all night.

"They were loud right from the get go. They always are. They always have great support. It seems like every team says it but it's the honest truth here. We do have very passionate fans that come out and support us. We fed off of the fans tonight," said Predators forward Jerred Smithson.

It took the Predators a while to get going in this game. Montreal was controlling the flow of play during the first period, and took a 1-0 lead when David Dasharnais scored on a bit of a broken play. He knocked the loose puck past Rinne from the crease, and gave the Canadiens the early advantage.

In the second period, the Predators found their game. They had several 5-on-5 chances, but weren't able to capitalize. However, the Preds were able to tie the game on the penalty kill. Shea Weber unleashed a killer slapshot from the point that beat Peter Budaj for the equalizer.

The play in the third period was fairly even across the board. Naturally, the score at the end of the third period was also even. The game went into overtime tied at one, and Pacioretty was able to sneak one under the crossbar 2:31 of the extra period to give Montreal the road victory.

With the overtime loss, the Predators drop to 8-5-3 on the season. Nashville has collected at least one point in seven of their last eight games. In that span, they have gone 5-1-2, and have collected 12 out of a possible 16 points.

"You've got to scratch and claw and do whatever it takes to get points. Everything is so tight and there's not a lot of difference in caliber of teams. We've been playing pretty good hockey. We've been playing hard, and really have been getting back to focusing on defense first," Smithson said.

"Tonight, our coverage was ok. It wasn't the greatest, but that's what we really have to really zone in on is taking care of our own zone. The offense will take care of itself. We have a lot of creative guys in here. We don't get a lot of respect when it comes to offense, but guys are buzzing and working hard and we seem to create chances by work ethic," Smithson said.

Nashville still has four games remaining on this homestand, so the opportunity is there to continue their recent success by winning games at home.

"You want to get points every night, but it's huge to take advantage of your home games. We've done a decent job so far this year on the road, but our home ice is where we have to start taking advantage of and dominating. We have to make teams think, before they get out here, that this is going to be a tough building to play in. Our starts have been average at best. Tonight was below average, but we stuck with it and found a way to get a point," Smithson said.

The Predators will take on Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Former Predators Joel Ward and Tomas Vokoun will make a return trip to Smashville, and Nashville will face a tough Eastern Conference test.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Max Pacioretty(MTL)
2. Peter Budaj(MTL)
3. Pekka Rinne(NSH)

3 Stars by Nashville Media:
1. Max Pacioretty(MTL)
2. Peter Budaj(MTL)
3. Pekka Rinne(NSH)

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