Forsberg, Turris lead Predators past Canadiens 3-2 in SO
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Playing in their own building, Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators are awfully dangerous on the power play.
Forsberg scored a pair of goals with the man advantage and Kyle Turris had the only goal in a shootout to lead the Predators to a 3-2 victory over the struggling Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Nashville entered with the NHL’s best power play at home, converting 40.5 percent of the time, and finished 2 for 4 in this one. Seven of Forsberg’s team-leading 11 goals have come with the man advantage.
”I thought our guys played hard,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. ”I don’t think that we were particularly smooth with execution with what we were trying to do. Some of that could have been us; I think some of that had to do with them. They played a really competitive game.”
Pekka Rinne made 27 saves in regulation and overtime, then denied all three Montreal shootout attempts as Nashville won for the eighth time in nine tries.
Jordie Benn and Joe Morrow scored for the Canadiens, who have lost their last five. Morrow’s goal evened the score with less than a minute left in the third period.
In the tiebreaker, Turris beat Antti Niemi with a wrist shot between the pads. Prior to Turris’ shootout goal, Niemi stopped Kevin Fiala and Forsberg.
Paul Byron hit the crossbar on Montreal’s first attempt before Rinne made saves on Jonathan Drouin and captain Max Pacioretty.
”Those are some big points,” Rinne said of the shootout. ”Nowadays, it’s a big aspect of the game. As a goalie, for myself, that’s one area where maybe I can change the game, so it was sure nice to stop those three – one crossbar, though.”
Tight games are the norm between these teams. Nine of the last 10 have been decided by one goal, with seven extending to overtime – including two shootouts.
Benn scored the game’s first goal at 12:47 of the opening period. Skating through the slot, he took a pass from Charles Hudon and beat Rinne with a wrist shot to the stick side.
Forsberg tied it at 1 with a second remaining in the first.
With the Predators on a power play, former Canadiens star P.K. Subban carried the puck into the Montreal zone and found Ryan Johansen at the right faceoff dot. Johansen sent a pass to Forsberg in the slot, where he fired the puck by Niemi, who had moved to his left to challenge Johansen.
”There was no pretty hockey from either team,” Forsberg said. ”It was a battle out there, two teams that weren’t playing their prettiest hockey. But (we) battled hard, and obviously two big points.”
Niemi finished with 30 saves.
”I think we did lots of good stuff today overall, pretty good 65 minutes,” he said. ”It was enough to get one point.”
Forsberg struck again at 3:16 of the third, once more on a Nashville power play.
With the puck in the lower part of the left circle, Craig Smith sent a pass to Forsberg in the slot. From nearly the same spot where he scored his first goal, Forsberg beat Niemi with a wrist shot high to the glove side.
Morrow tied it with 55.5 seconds remaining when his shot from the left point deflected off two Nashville players before getting past Rinne.
Playing without No. 1 goalie Carey Price and top defenseman Shea Weber in the second half of a back-to-back, Montreal still found a way to get a point.
”We all know what this business is based on – it’s on winning,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. ”That part’s always disappointing. We’ve got our fair share of injuries, and when you have to put up without those guys, it’s always a challenge.”
NOTES: Weber missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury. He spent his first 11 seasons with the Predators, the last six as team captain. … The Canadiens are 3-9-1 against Western Conference teams this season. … Nashville C Austin Watson served the second of a two-game suspension for a boarding call Saturday night against Colorado. … Predators D Alexei Emelin, a former Canadien, played his 400th NHL game. … Forsberg has points in six consecutive games.
Canadiens: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
Predators: At the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
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