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About Last Night: Habs hang on for single point in 4-3 OT loss to Preds

Jake Allen made 40 saves, including 16 in the third period, in the losing effort. Filip Forsberg scored the winner in overtime.

Dec 4, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Michael Pezzetta (55) and Nashville Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki (90) fight during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Allen made 40 saves for the Montreal Canadiens in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

The Habs hung on for a single point in the standings despite getting outshot 17-2 in the third period. Filip Forsberg scored the winner in overtime for the Predators.

There was some roster movement prior to puck drop. The Canadiens claimed defenceman Kale Clague off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. The Habs also sent down Laurent Dauphin and Corey Schueneman to Laval with the return of Mike Hoffman to the lineup from injury and Mattias Norlinder after being a scratch on Thursday. Josh Anderson, Jeff Petry, Brendan Gallagher and Sami Niku were all out of the lineup.

Eeli Tolvanen opened scoring for the Predators just under five minutes into the first period by deflecting a Mattias Ekholm point shot over Allen’s blocker. The Habs got two minor penalties in the opening 10 minutes of the game, but managed to keep the Nashville power play off the scoresheet.

Michael Pezzetta tried to get his club going in the second period. He slammed Matt Benning into the boards with a hit, then dropped the gloves with Mark Borowiecki behind the play.

The fight seemed to energize the away team, because a few minutes after on the power play, Nick Suzuki held and fired a top shelf laser past Juuse Saros for the 1-1 equalizer. Cole Caufield was the key distributor along the left boards.

Christian Dvorak single-handedly delivered the Habs the lead at the midway point of the second. He not only won a footrace against Alexandre Carrier to negate an icing call, Dvorak then went to the net to tap in a rebound off a David Savard shot for the 2-1 advantage. Montreal had the chance for more with a 5-on-3 power play, but couldn’t increase their lead.

Before the period was out, Nashville tied it 2-2 when Mattias Ekholm got his second assist of the night off a tip, this time with Tanner Jeannot elevating his stick just about as high as it can legally go for the redirect on Allen, who immediately went to the refs to protest the call. A review sided with Jeannot and the Preds.

Although the Predators did outshoot the Habs 17-2 in the third period, it was the Habs who got an early jump in the frame. After a solid defensive effort by Alexander Romanov to stop a streaking Matt Duchene, followed by multi-car pileup in the neutral zone, Caufield took the puck down the ice and found trailer Brett Kulak, who scored his first of the season to give Montreal a 3-2 lead.

Kulak had an uncharacteristic period, not only scoring but getting into a fight with Luke Kunin. It put both players in the running for a Gordie Howe hat-trick, since Kulak had a goal and a fight, while Kunin dropped the gloves and assisted on the Tolvanen goal. On his birthday, no less, Kunin got his goal for a Gordie, jamming it home with a teammate in tow at 10:12 in the third. Artturi Lehkonen had a chance on a breakaway late, but couldn’t beat Saros.

The Kunin goal sent the game to overtime, but not before Allen made multiple saves to keep his team in it. Allen made another two saves in overtime, but the third time would prove the charm for the Preds. Forsberg lost his stick in the corner, but it gave him time to slip away from the defenders and set up to Allen’s right. Granlund fed him a cross-crease pass and it was curtains for the Habs in Smashville.

On the 112th birthday of the most storied franchise in hockey, the current-day Montreal Canadiens needed their goalie to stand on his head for a point in the standings. It’s been that kind of season for the Habs, who fall to 6-17-3 with a Stanley Cup rematch against the Tampa Bay Lightning coming up Tuesday. Some interesting news on the Hockey Night in Canada hotstove: Montreal-born player agent Kent Hughes could be in contention for the vacant general manager position. His client list includes Patrice Bergeron and Kris Letang.

The Gorton Habs are winless, and the Liveblog commenters must be wondering if the new VP is watching the same games they are. Also, why didn’t Norlinder play more than nine minutes?

3. “Team definitely had a better effort can’t take than away from them but still gave up a ton of chances and Allen pounded with 44 shots. Not sure we would have been in OT without him. Good to get a point on the road I guess….” -Kelly Morgan
2. “Some would say this was a moral victory for us….worked harder and a better team effort giving us a point. But yet another disappointing result.” -Bob Taylor
1. “The only reason the game got to overtime was Allen. He was great in a losing cause.” -Ryan Katz