Nashville Predators: Rinne Saves The Night In Montreal

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators didn’t have their best stuff on Saturday night. Unfortunately for the Montreal Canadiens, Pekka Rinne did.

Half of the Nashville Predators’ defense corps spent multiple seasons playing for the Montreal Canadiens. With what P.K. Subban means to the city of Montreal, his meetings with the Canadiens will always be emotional. This game marked Alexei Emelin‘s return to the Bell Centre as an opponent. Yannick Weber was part of a couple of those Habs teams with Subban & Emelin as well.

Maybe the Nashville defensemen were feeling charitable in their return home. Pekka Rinne had a lot of work to do Saturday night to pull this game out.

First Period

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The Montreal fans chant “P.K” at the beginning of the game to the surprise of no one. Nick Bonino fires one off the post, the puck flies towards Scott Hartnell but Hartnell can’t corral it. The first penalty of the night is against the Nashville Predators at 10:21 when Filip Forsberg holds Karl Alzner. Welcome back! Montreal is the eighth best team in the NHL on the power play but gets nothing done on this one. Pekka Rinne makes a big save on a shot by Alex Galchenyuk.

Alzner interferes with Ryan Johansen and heads to the penalty box. The Habs kill off the Preds’ power play. There have already been a couple of instances of pushing & shoving between these squads. Alexei Emelin heads to the penalty box at the 17:37 mark after tripping Nikita Scherbak. Nashville kills the penalty without incident. P.K. Subban & Brendan Gallagher go at it in front of the Nashville net! Mayhem ensues & the period comes to an end.

The Canadiens out-shot the Predators 8-5 & out-hit them 14-5. Pretty uneventful period, Nashville needs to step it up in the second.

Second Period

Pekka Rinne’s being put to work early in the period. The Nashville Predators try to get things going on offense. Viktor Arvidsson‘s setting his screens in front of Carey Price. Max Pacioretty nearly slides it through traffic into the net but Rinne pushes it away. The Canadiens have too many men on the ice at 6:17, so Nashville goes on the PP. Claude Julien is not pleased. Paul Byron nearly gets a short-handed goal, fortunately, Rinne makes the save. Mattias Ekholm had a good shot that Price knocked away at the end of the power play.

Shortly afterward, Brendan Gallagher puts it through Rinne’s legs to make it 1-0 Montreal at 8:35. Atturi Lehkonen gets the assist. Subban blocked Gallagher’s first shot but couldn’t get the second. Gallagher has words for Subban afterward. Peter Laviolette‘s juggling the lines right now, making for some interesting combinations. The Canadiens have all the momentum right now, but can’t get anything done.

Nick Bonino passes it over to Scott Hartnell, who taps it into a practically empty net! The Predators tie it up at 16:22!

Austin Watson has a big shot that Price saves. The pushing & shoving continues afterward, and the referees decide to send Hartnell, Johansen & David Schlemko to the box at 18:25. That puts the Canadiens on the power play. Austin Watson takes a puck to the left leg and needs to get off the ice. The Canadiens will continue on the power play when the third period begins.

Both teams were more active in this period. We seem to be headed for an interesting concluding period. Maybe even some overtime, since we haven’t seen enough of that this road trip.

Third Period

The Nashville Predators kill off the Montreal PP to begin the period. Nashville has a close call when Yannick Weber turns the puck over behind the net & somehow Rinne keeps a shot from behind him out. The fans want a penalty call on Miika Salomaki after his defensive play but they don’t get one. Montreal keeps getting chances right in front of the net. Many, many chances.

Lehtonen gets called for holding at 8:12, and Nashville gets a power play at a key moment in the game. Subban turns the puck over in the Predators’ zone & Rinne has to fend off a shot. Nashville gets nothing accomplished. Austin Watson still out here blocking shots. The Predators finally get some zone time of their own & shots in front of the net, and Kevin Fiala takes advantage of a rebound to make it 2-1 at 12:19! Johansen & Arvidsson get assists by shooting the puck earlier.

Rinne with another big save soon after. Subban possessing the puck behind his own net still gets some cheers in Montreal at this late point in the game. Price leaves the net with two minutes left. Rinne is catching pucks out here like he’s Ken Griffey Jr. for some reason. That was almost a little too cute. You had to know somebody would break through eventually, and it was Jonathan Drouin at 18:46. Tie game.

Four games on this road trip, four overtimes.


The Predators control puck possession for the first couple of minutes. They don’t do much with it. Subban makes a turnover, the Canadiens take control & all heck breaks loose. Montreal is approaching 50 shots for the evening. They get up to forty-nine, including ten in the overtime period. I wish I had the words to describe Rinne’s goaltending tonight. I don’t feel too bad because the announcers are at a loss as well.

It’s time for a shootout! Paul Byron goes first for Montreal & misses. Ryan Ellis flips it in for the Predators. Drouin misses! Forsberg tries to put it away for Nashville but misses. Pacioretty misses, and the Nashville Predators get two points!

Steve’s Three Stars of the Game

Third Star: Carey Price

It hasn’t been the best of seasons for Montreal’s All-World goalie. Price showed his classic form tonight. He didn’t have as much work as his Nashville counterpart, but he more than held up his end of the bargain. Price almost led the Habs to what would be considered an upset victory this season.

Second Star: Kevin Fiala

Fiala’s breakout season continued tonight with another goal that almost put Nashville ahead for good. He’s proven himself as a top-six skater and looked pretty good on that line with Johansen & Arvidsson.

First Star: Pekka Rinne

This was one of those games where the Predators defense wasn’t very defensive. The Canadiens had tons of high danger chances tonight. They were certainly motivated to put on an offensive show against some of their old defensemen. They didn’t get tons of goals because Number 35 was on point. He single-handedly kept the Predators in the game. He was the reason they survived the overtime period. The Canadiens made zero shots in the shootout.

Talk about a one-man show. That’s what Pekka Rinne was tonight.

Next: Sorting through Predators trade rumors

Next Game

The Nashville Predators finally return home to Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night. They’ll find a familiar opponent waiting for them as the St. Louis Blues come to town. Another Central Division clash will commence around 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT on Fox Sports Tennessee & 102.5 The Game.