Champagne Alexis Belanger, The Canadian Press – BK Subban kicked off the evening by encouraging the Canadian players to play with the same passion as the fans. It was just the beginning of the party, Thursday night at the Bell Center.
Cole Cofield had two power play touchdowns and Samuel Montembolt made 39 tackles as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Nashville Predators 4-3.
Subban, who retired this summer, was given pre-game honors for his seven seasons with HBS. He was cheered on for more than a minute by fans as he walked up to the rink and gave an inspirational speech.
Commitment has indeed been one of the recurring themes during the final days at Al Kindi. There were no passengers in the confinement camp this time.
Kirby Dutch had a goal and an assist, while Jake Evans also hit the target. Jonathan Drouin recorded three assists for the Canadiens (17-22-3), who have won for only the second time in their last 10 games (2-7-1).
Nino Niedreiter, Philipp Forsberg, and Jozo Parsinen responded to the Predators (19-16-6). In his first NHL outing, Yaroslav Askarov staggered and stopped 31 shots.
Forwards Mike Hoffman and Michael Pezzetta were left out by head coach Martin St. Louis. The latter chose a formation of 11 forwards and seven defenders, with the introduction of striker Jesse Ylonen and defender Justin Baron.
The Canadiens will play two games in New York this weekend, when they take on the Islanders on Saturday and then the Rangers on Sunday.
Obviously, Subban’s message fell on deaf ears, as the Canadian had a solid start to the game.
Askarov seemed to have a hard time controlling returns, but the Canadian didn’t capitalize on a few scrapes in front of the Predators net.
The visitors opened the scoring at 10:35, shortly after a power play. Roman José sent the puck into the front of the net and the ball was deflected in front of Niedereiter before ending up in the goal.
The Habs responded with 6:30 to go in the first period. Askrov partially stopped Evans’ bullet during an attack
Two on one and the puck continued its trajectory behind the goal line.
Dach got back on the charge 1:38 later. He took advantage of a nice throw-in from Ylönen after Drouin intercepted a cross from Askarov.
The Predators tied the game at 2-2 12 seconds into the second period through Forsberg, but the Canadian wasn’t giving up.
Nick Suzuki missed an open net before setting up the table for Caufield later in the power play. Coffield clocked in at 10:03 with a one minute timer.
Both teams missed great scoring opportunities before the end of the second half. Evgeny Dadonov and Evans were unable to move the ropes on the breakaway. On the Predators side, Colton Sissons reached center during an overrun attack.
However, Coffield delivered a slam dunk to the Predators with 6:15 left to play in the third period. He scored again on the power play courtesy of a fine timer, this time from a Dach cross.
Parsenen closed the gap with 1:29 remaining after Askarov was replaced by an additional striker. However, the Canadian retained after that.
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