Predators vs. Canadiens Preview
MONTREAL, QC - The Montreal Canadiens have increased their lead in the Northeast Division with an impressive four-game winning streak. The Nashville Predators hope they're not the next victim.
Montreal plays the third game of a four-game homestand Thursday night against Nashville, which has lost six of eight and fallen to the bottom of the Central Division.
The Canadiens continued their run with a 3-0 victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday. Carey Price made 41 saves and earned his second shutout in four games for Montreal (12-5-1).
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Canadiens –150 money line favorites for Thursday's game against the Predators. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 55% of more than 344 bets for this game have been placed on the Canadiens -150.
Price, who has started all but one game this season, improved to 11-5-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average.
"It's always the next step that you have to look forward to," Price said. "We can savor this one, but then tomorrow we start preparing for the next one."
With Price in net, Montreal has given up three goals during the win streak.
"He made some really good saves in the first period to keep us in it, and he gave us an opportunity and we took the lead," defenseman P.K. Subban said, "but he stood on his head. He made timely saves and he's playing well right now."
So is captain Brian Gionta, who scored for the third straight game and fourth time in his last five with a power-play goal in the third period. After scoring once with the man advantage through the first 14 games, the Canadiens have recorded seven power-play goals over the last four, including two against the Flyers.
Tomas Plekanec recorded his team-leading 20th point with a goal and an assist and has six points in his last two games. Michael Cammalleri, whose plus-12 rating is tied for second in the NHL, scored his fifth goal.
While the Canadiens have won five of six, the Predators (7-6-3) have struggled. Nashville, in the midst of playing nine of 10 games on the road, fell 5-4 to Toronto on Tuesday.
The Predators jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from J.P. Dumont, Jordin Tootoo and Martin Erat. They went up 4-1 on Marcel Goc's goal early in the second, but gave up four power-play goals in the period.
Nashville committed six penalties in the second and allowed two goals while on 5-on-3 disadvantages.
"We gave them momentum by taking penalty after penalty after penalty," coach Barry Trotz said. "When are we going to learn? You have a team down and out, you have them on the floor gasping for air and you let them off the mat. We stopped working, we stopped skating and therefore you take penalties.
"We deserved exactly what we got in the end."
Penalty killing has been a problem for the Predators, who rank 24th in the league at 77.8 percent.
Nashville beat Montreal in the only meeting last season, firing 55 shots on Price as Pekka Rinne earned a 2-0 victory last Nov. 14.