NASHVILLE – The Canadiens were hoping to find their bearings during their long stay away from the holidays. Rather, he sank into his quagmire.
The Nashville Predators scored three times in the first 11 minutes of play and easily defeated the Montreal club 6-3 on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.
The Habs had lost three straight in regulation for the first time this season before flying to Arizona on December 18. After ending that streak against the Coyotes, he lost his next six games (0-5-1), including the last five on a regular basis.
Performances were particularly awkward after returning from the Christmas break. The Canadiens have lost their last four games by a combined score of 8-26.
“There were times when it was better, but we were giving too many chances to score. We don’t cover spaces well in the defensive zone and this responsibility falls as much on the defenders as on the attackers,” indicated Jonathan Drouin.
Cole Caufield, the day after his 22nd birthday, Josh Anderson and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadian (15-20-3). Samuel Montembeault made 28 saves.
Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi and Thomas Novak each had a goal and an assist for the Predators (16-14-6). Cody Glass, Colton Sissons and Matt Duchene also scored, while Nino Niederreiter had three assists and Mikael Granlund two. Juuse Saros stopped 24 shots.
Defender David Savard was back in action for the Canadiens after missing 13 games with an upper body injury. Forward Anthony Richard was also added to the lineup, while Johnathan Kovacevic and Joel Armia were left out.
The Canadiens will now return to the comfort of the Bell Center for four games. He will host the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Glass got the ball rolling after 4:10 for the Predators, deflecting a shot from Ekholm on the power play.
The scenario might have been different had the video managers determined that Glass had hit the puck higher than the allowed height. However, this was not the case, and then things quickly unraveled.
Sissons took the lead 1:39 later after a two-on-one attack with Filip Forsberg. The latter had stolen the disc from Justin Barron in the neutral zone.
Barron had bad luck on the Predators’ third goal at 10:42 on the power play. Ekholm’s slapshot deflected against his stick, cheating Montembeault’s vigilance.
Caufield revived the Canadiens by scoring on a breakaway with 49.3 seconds left in the first period.
The Habs then had a good start to the second period. Anderson even took advantage of the generosity of Saros to close the gap to just one goal at 6:40.
However, Novak scored 1:22 later as the Canadian was disorganized in his territory.
Josi dealt a heavy blow to the Canadian by widening the gap to 5-2 with 2:12 remaining in the second period. Once again, he was forgotten by the Habs’ defensive coverage and he beat Montembeault with a good shot from the side of the mitt.
The Canadian was unable to take advantage of 21 seconds at five against three early in the third period. Duchene scored on a two-man power play for the Predators moments later, making it 6-2.
Gallagher scored with 3:01 to go, but the end result was already in doubt.