The Montreal Canadiens four-game winning streak ended Saturday night with a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. But they lost more than just the game. After it was revealed Max Pacioretty would miss three weeks with a hamstring injury, Daniel Briere and Brandon Prust both left the game Saturday with injuries.
The Habs got off to a rough start in the first, getting widely out shot 14-6. But Carey Price stood tall. But a fluke goal from Shea Weber that bounced off Josh Gorges’ skate put the Predators ahead 1-0 after one. After the game, Habs coach Michel Therrien complimented Nashville on their strong start.
“They attack the net,” Therrien said. “They have an incredible work ethic. They’re always on the puck, they’re able to find each other, and they do good things.”
The second period didn’t go much better Briere went down with a concussion, his third since January 2012. Nashville forward Eric Nystrom and Briere collided near the Predators blue line as they were both transitioning up the ice. There was no indication after the game how long he would be out, but with his history, it could be a while.
Therrien was quick to not blame Nystrom for the incident.
“I think it was an accident,” Therrien said. “Two players ran into each other, I don’t think the Nashville player was targeting the head.”
But the second period wasn’t all bad. Montreal was able to tie the game seven minutes into the period. After Lars Eller drove the net and Michaël Bournival missed the first rebound, Brendan Gallagher potted the goal through a pile of players.
“I think we did a good job at getting the puck to the net,” Eller said. “And when we did we drew a penalty or got a scoring chance.”
The third period was Montreal’s best, and the only one where they out shot the Preds. At one point, it looked like Montreal tied the game when Eller shot a weak shot at a falling Pekka Rinne that was called a goal by the referee. But a video review could not provide conclusive evidence and the goal was waved off.
“In my opinion, the puck was inside [the net],” Eller said. “He had his glove on it, so technically you can’t see it, but when you see it’s not outside the line, it’s got to be inside. It’s logic.”
It looked like the game was going to overtime, but Seth Jones changed that with his second career goal with 90 seconds to go. He picked up a pass from David Legwand, then pulled off a toe-drag around Gorges to score the goal.
Montreal was unable to tie it and their winning streak was over. Head Coach Therrien still felt good about the third period.
“We played our best period in the third, we played an aggressive period, which has been our strength since the start of the season,” Therrien said. “We didn’t have that at the start of the game. The Predators came here and imposed their rhythm on the game, and we had to adjust to it. Over the second half of the game we started to get better, and I have nothing against the way we played in the third.”
Montreal’s next game is Tuesday October 22 when they host the Edmonton Oilers.