Nashville Predators (7-6-3) at Montreal Canadiens (12-5-1) – November
Andrei Kostitsyn will face his brother, Sergei, for the first time in the NHL
as the Canadiens play host to the Nashville Predators this Thursday night.
The younger Kostitsyn was shipped out this past off-season after a
drama-filled year, while the Canadiens received the rights to Dan Ellis and
Dustin Boyd in return. The Predators are fresh off a painful 5-4 defeat to the
lowly Maple-Leafs, after relinquishing a 3-goal lead upon running into penalty trouble.
Conversely, the Canadiens blanked the high-powered Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0, in
a match-up between divisional leaders. The Predators and Canadiens only
met once last year in Nashville, and the Predators recorded the win with a 2-0
shutout. Carey Price made a Canadiens’ record-tying 53 saves that night,
but it was Pekka Rinne that earned the victory. Nashville is 6-4-0 over
the last 10 games while Montreal is 7-3-0 over the same span, having won their
last 4 games.
Carey Price (11-5-1, 2.05 GAA, .930 SV%) is slated to start for the
Canadiens, having recorded 41 saves in his Tuesday night shutout over the
Flyers. Pekka Rinne (4-5-2, 3.06 GAA, .904 SV%) and Anders Lindback
(3-1-1, 2.76 GAA, .917 SV%) have been splitting playing time, but it appears that Rinne will get the start tonight.
Tomas Plekanec (7-13-20) continues to lead the way offensively for the
Canadiens, although Mike Cammalleri (5-8-13) and Brian Gionta (5-6-11) have
heated up of late, lining up alongside Plekanec on the first line. After
recording 3 points over his first 13 games, Gionta is presently riding a 5-game
point streak with 4 goals, 4 assists and 2 game-winning goals over that span.
Cal O’Reilly (3-9-12) leads the Predators in scoring, followed closely by Steve
Sullivan (5-4-9) and J.P. Dumont (3-5-8).
The Habs have spent the better part of the season toiling in the basement
with the man-advantage, but a recent surge (8 PP goals in the last 4 games) has
vaulted the Canadiens to 15.7% efficiency. The Predators sit in the bottom
part of the league with 11.7% efficiency. It is a wider discrepancy with
the PK units, as Montreal’s top-ranked penalty-killing (89.7%) is superior to
Nashville’s shorthanded play (77.8%). It is important to note that the
Predators’ penalty-killing stats took a hit on Tuesday night as they surrendered
4 powerplay goals in the 3rd period.
Andrei Markov’s "long-term" knee injury is the only one to report for
Montreal, although both Josh Gorges and Jeff Halpern took therapy days yesterday
after receiving elbows from Darroll Powe on Tuesday night. It is assumed
that Boyd will be scratched and will watch his former team from
the press box, as could Yannick Weber, recalled from the Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon. Nashville will be without the services of Jamie Lundmark
(groin) and Matthew Lombardi (concussion).
Game-time is 19:30 EST and the game can be seen on RDS, regionally on TSN-ALT and on FS-TN in the United States.
Preview written by Matt Dilworth