Defenseman Mattias Ekholm looks to extend an historic goal-scoring streak to five games when the red-hot Nashville Predators host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. Ekholm’s four-game run is the longest in franchise history for a defenseman, and he has added a pair of assists during that stretch for the Predators, who have won seven of their last eight contests.
“(Ekholm) plays both ends of the ice, left side, right side, I don’t think it matters,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette told reporters. “I think what we’re seeing is, he’s got a real good shot from the point. He’s getting some power-play time, and he’s really bringing the hammer.” The Predators have scored 37 goals in their last eight games and hope to continue that offensive surge against the reeling Canadiens, who have dropped four straight after a 3-1 setback at Dallas on Tuesday. Brendan Gallagher scored the first goal of the contest - his second in three games - for the Canadiens, who put together a promising 6-2-0 run before their current slide. Montreal was without top defenseman Shea Weber on Tuesday due to a lower-body injury, and the former Predator’s status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One, RDS (Montreal), FSN Tennessee (Nashville)
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (8-12-2): Gallagher (nine goals, five assists) took over the team lead with 14 points on Tuesday, edging past Weber (four, nine) and Jonathan Drouin (three, 10). Captain Max Pacioretty (seven goals) has gone four games without a point and owns a team-worst minus-13 rating while Alex Galchenyuk has not scored in 10 games this month after finishing October with three tallies in four contests. Defenseman Joe Morrow registered a team-high five shots on Tuesday and notched an assist for his fourth point in eight games.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (12-6-2): Kyle Turris has made quite an impact since coming over from Ottawa in a three-team trade, posting five points in five games, and linemate Kevin Fiala has emerged as a major threat with two goals and four assists in his last four contests. Filip Forsberg tops the team with 21 points, including one goal and six assists in his last five games, while defenseman P.K. Subban (16 points) has notched four assists in his last two matches. Ryan Johansen has scored two goals in his last three contests after beginning the season with a 17-game drought.
1. The Predators are 7-for-21 on the power play over their last five games while Montreal has gone 2-for-20 in their last eight contests.
2. Nashville LW Austin Watson will finish serving his two-game suspension for an illegal hit on Wednesday.
3. Weber played in 763 games over 11 seasons with the Predators, scoring 166 goals before being traded to the Canadiens for Subban.
PREDICTION: Predators 4, Canadiens 3