With Montreal and Nashville tied early in the third period, Eller thought he gave the Canadiens the lead when his shot from a tight angle appeared to trickle under the arm of sprawled Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
But the goal was disallowed, and the Predators went on to beat the Canadiens 2-1 on Saturday night on Seth Jones’ late goal.
”The puck was inside,” Eller said. ”(Rinne) had his glove on it, so technically you couldn’t see it was inside. But if it’s not outside the line, it’s got to be inside. It’s logic.”
The decision on the ice confirmed Eller’s suspicion that the puck had crossed the line. But the referees, with the help of video replay, overturned the initial call.
”In my mind, I know the puck was inside,” he said.
The Canadiens dominated the third period, but couldn’t net the decisive goal.
Those heroics were reserved for Jones, a rookie defenseman, who netted the winner with 1:27 left.
Jones, the No. 4 pick in this year’s NHL draft, is already turning heads early in his career with four points in the young season.
”We’ve been very fortunate,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. ”We really got a special player in Seth Jones. We saw what he can do. He played big minutes tonight, scored the winning goal. He’s earning his own stripes.”
Jones’ goal spoiled a 35-save performance by Montreal’s Carey Price. Nashville captain Shea Weber also scored for the Predators (4-3-1), who got 28 saves from Pekka Rinne.
Price has never beaten the Predators.
”Price was big for us,” said Brendan Gallagher, the lone goal scorer for the Canadiens (4-3). ”We had a chance to win it late. But the only reason that was, was because he was so good early.”
It was Montreal’s second game of a five-game homestand after last week’s successful Western road trip. Montreal, which beat the Blue Jackets 5-3 on Thursday, had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Nashville earned seven of 10 points in five games at home before the trip to Montreal.
Weber opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 12:31 of the first period. His cross-crease pass bounced off Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges and deflected past a helpless Price.
Gallagher made it 1-1 at 7:02 of the second, finishing a scramble in front of the net by lobbing the puck over Rinne.
After Eller’s disallowed goal, Jones skated into the Montreal zone, dangled the puck with a nifty move, and fired in his second goal of the season.
”On the winning goal, it was bad coverage — pretty simple,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.
The last time the Canadiens played the Predators in November 2011, Max Pacioretty scored the winning goal in overtime. He missed Saturday’s game because of a hamstring injury.
Montreal also lost forward Danny Briere, who sustained a concussion after a second-period hit by Nashville’s Eric Nystrom. Briere has a history of concussions, sustaining one in March, and another in January of last year.
”I think it was an accident,” Therrien said. ”The two players ran into each other. I don’t think the Nashville player was targeting his head.”
Brandon Prust also left the game with an upper-body injury.
NOTES: Before the game, Montreal assigned defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to Hamilton of the AHL. … The Canadiens will host Edmonton on Tuesday.