It was the number one goalie vs. the number two goalie. It was a rare visit from the Montreal Canadiens. It was Kevin Fiala’s NHL debut.
Pick your storyline, really.
In front of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena, Filip Forsberg supplied the dramatics while the Nashville Predators beat the Canadiens, 3-2, in overtime.
Just seconds into the extra session, Forsberg appeared to get by the Montreal defense for a breakaway but former Norris Trophy winner PK Subban had no choice but to haul him down from behind. The officials deemed it a tripping penalty rather than a penalty shot so Nashville took to the power play. Mike Ribeiro put some extra sauce on a cross-ice pass and Forsberg buried it to give the Preds their first win over a team currently in the playoffs since February 12.
“I think we had a couple of good looks working it up to with (Roman) Josi and (Shea) Weber,” Forsberg said. “We just to tried to draw a couple of guys up there and then it was two on one and Ribeiro made a really nice pass.”
In the opening period, Mattias Ekholm was able to intercept a pass at center ice and carry into the Habs zone. Once over the blueline, he split the defenders, got tripped up and then, on a delayed penalty call, tucked the puck under the crossbar from his knees.
“It was huge to get the first one, especially against a team like that,” Roman Josi said. “It just makes the game a little easier if you have the lead right away.”
Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher would tie it up early in the second on a fluky play and then, midway through the contest, a Nashville miscue led to another Montreal marker. While in a battle in the corner, Shea Weber tried to tip the puck to a supporting Roman Josi. Instead, PA Parenteau corralled it and sent the cross-ice pass to David Desharnais who slammed it home for the 2-1 lead.
“Being down by one after two periods against a team like Montreal wasn’t what we wanted,” Josi said. “They play really well and don’t give up much.”
Nashville would tie it back up on a third period goal from Ryan Ellis but there was a game-saving stop by Rinne at the opposite end of the ice just moments prior. Subban got the puck to Tomas Plekanec standing at the back door when Rinne whipped around instinctually and got his right pad on it to deny the Habs an insurance goal.
“Peks played very strong tonight,” defenseman Cody Franson said. “He kept us in the game and made big saves at key times. But that’s what a great goalie does. They make that big save when you need it and, in this case, we were able to capitalize on a chance after that.”
The Predators will now hop on a plane and head to Tampa to take on the Lightning on Thursday. You can catch all the action on 102.5 The Game or on TV via Fox Sports Tennessee.
Puck drops at 6:00pm Central.
MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 6:40 remaining in regulation):
1. Mattias Ekholm (NSH)
2. Pekka Rinne (NSH)
3. PA Parenteau (MON)
THE THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Filip Forsberg (NSH)
2. Pekka Rinne (NSH)
3. Carey Price (MON)
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // TheGameNashville.com