The Nashville Predators will look to avoid consecutive losses when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night to close out a brief two-game Canadian road trip.
The Predators suffered their first shutout loss of the season in a 4-0 setback to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Nashville was undone by penalties and a lack of offensive urgency en route to seeing its three-game winning streak come to an end. The Predators mustered just 18 shots — including five in the third period — and failed to score on any of their three power-play opportunities.
“That’s not us… we didn’t take care of the puck, and it showed; we were losing 4-0, so the good thing is we have a game (Sunday), so we can bounce back quickly,” Nashville defenseman Jeremy Lauzon told Bally Sports Nashville. “It’s fun to have a quick turnaround here, and it’s a huge game for us (Sunday) in Montreal.”
“We just turned pucks over, lose too many battles,” Predators forward Colton Sissons said. “We really didn’t have a whole lot of time in the offensive zone just in general. It’s on us, it wasn’t us tonight.”
Meanwhile, the Canadiens confidently enter Sunday’s matchup after Juraj Slafkovsky scored a shootout winner in a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Cayden Primeau made a career-high 46 saves in addition to a pair of stops in the shootout.
For Primeau, Saturday’s performance helps his case for more playing time. The Canadiens, after all, are making their way through the season with a trio of goalies in Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen.
“I hope so, every game I play is an opportunity to prove myself,” Primeau told Sportsnet. “I’m trying to build off every game.”
Montreal captain Nick Suzuki was happy to see how his team responded after squandering a two-goal lead in the third period.
“A lot of ups and downs, and that’s going to happen in a game,” Suzuki said. “I liked our fight after we gave up those two goals and just stuck with it. I felt like we knew we were going to win that game, just a matter of when, and went all the way to the shootout. So, it’s a big win for us.”
However, Montreal lost forward Tanner Pearson to an upper-body injury when he was hit with a shot in the first period. Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis was unable to provide an update on Pearson’s condition after the game.
Although the back end of back-to-back games and overnight travel is far from ideal for either team, Sunday’s game presents a crucial opportunity for the Predators to improve their road record (5-7-0). Meanwhile, the Canadiens can establish some consistency in the first of three games on home ice.
The two clubs have split their past four games. The Canadiens posted a 4-3 victory over the Predators in their most recent meeting on Jan. 12.
–Field Level Media