Thu, 20 Jan 2022

Predators aiming for consistency at home vs. struggling Canadiens

Field Level Media
04 Dec 2021, 05:19 GMT+10

The Nashville Predators' week has ranged from sizzling hot to icy cold, but they hope to heat up with the Montreal Canadiens in town.

Blanked at home by the Boston Bruins on Thursday after Filip Forsberg's dynamite performance just two nights earlier, Nashville will host Montreal on Saturday to conclude their season series.

Ryan Johansen was one of the Predators who could not breach Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman -- despite the Central Division club generating a season-high 42 shots.

"I think we would like to have created a few more scrums in front of the net, some second and third opportunities, especially when a goalie is playing that well, find a way to do that," said Johansen, whose six-game point streak ended.

The shutout came only two days after Forsberg -- a pending unrestricted free agent -- netted four times.

Mikael Granlund produced all four primary assists on Forsberg's quartet of tallies, and Juuse Saros stopped 27 shots in his 15th career NHL blanking in the 6-0 win over Columbus.

Nashville is 3-5-0 in the past eight games, including both occasions it has been blanked this season.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens have lost two straight this week -- 2-1 Tuesday to the Vancouver Canucks, 4-1 Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche -- and have been on the short end eight times in their last 10 matches.

Dating back to their 3-2 overtime loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 13, they are 2-7-1, but one of those two wins was at home against Nashville.

In a 6-3 triumph on Nov. 20, Montreal led 5-0 after two periods behind two goals from center Ryan Poehling in a 37-second span.

Tyler Toffoli crafted a three-point night -- which was needed as the Canadiens survived Matt Duchene's natural hat trick.

"I think it shows a lot of character," said Nashville captain Roman Josi.

However, Montreal has won just six times overall -- not once collecting consecutive victories -- and only narrowly lead last-place Ottawa in the Atlantic Division despite playing four more games than the Senators.

In Thursday's bad showing against the Avalanche, one upset spectator had seen enough and flung a Canadiens jersey onto home ice in an obvious act of frustration -- not throwing in the towel per se but voicing displeasure at the intolerably poor play.

Forward Nick Suzuki said the garment looked familiar.

"I saw it, it's not a good feeling for the players," said Suzuki, who sports No. 14 for Montreal. "I think it was one of my jerseys so -- I don't know if it was -- but I thought I saw a four."

Currently trapped in its sixth losing streak this season, the Canadiens seem to be in serious freefall mode: They fired general manager Marc Bergevin last weekend and proceeded to mail in two more defeats.

"It's tough to get booed but the fans want to see wins, they're used to productive teams and we're not doing that right now," Suzuki admitted. "I can definitely see why they're getting angry."

The storied franchise received more bad news Thursday as it announced forward Brendan Gallagher and defenseman Sami Niku tested positive for COVID-19. They will be sidelined for 10 days.

Right wing Josh Anderson, who has seven goals and six assists in 25 games, will miss 2-4 weeks with an upper-body injury.

--Field Level Media

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