Pekka Rinne stopped 47 shots through overtime, including 10 in the five-minute three-on-three period, and all three in the shootout while Ryan Ellis netted the lone shootout goal as the Nashville Predators beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 Saturday night in Montreal.
Nashville certainly came into the night the favorites, but it required an incredible performance from Rinne to earn the win at the Bell Centre.
The Predators — who went to extra time in all four games of this road trip — lost their previous two outings, but with Saturday’s win are on a 10-1-3 roll that has them perched atop the Central Division standings.
After a scoreless first period in what became a wildly entertaining game, Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring before the midway point of the middle frame. Gallagher grabbed the puck after Artturi Lehkonen stripped it from Filip Forsberg at the Nashville blue line and drove to the net, where his first shot was blocked but his second effort beat Rinne for his 20th goal of the season.
Nashville’s Scott Hartnell evened the score late in the period when he was set up by Nick Bonino for an open-net tap-in, and then Kevin Fiala put the Predators ahead with less than eight minutes left in regulation by pouncing on a rebound to beat Montreal goalie Carey Price.
However, Jonathan Drouin scored with 74 seconds left in regulation to snap a six-game drought and forced extra time. Lehkonen collected two assists on the night, which gives him five points (three goals, two assists) in a three-game run.
Price made 30 saves through overtime for the Canadiens, who have lost two straight.
Montreal did have some good news on the day. Forward Phillip Danault took part in the team’s morning skate, his first session since being struck in the head by Zdeno Chara’s slap shot on Jan. 13, and being carried off the ice on a stretcher. Danault has missed a dozen games but is eying a return to the lineup this coming week.
—Field Level Media