Shea Weber got the scoreboard tribute, but Alexander Radulov had the more spectacular return to Nashville.
Radulov set up Weber for the third-period goal that tied Tuesday night’s game 1-1.
Then, with only 30 seconds left in Overtime, Radulov beat several Nashville defenders and feathered a pass to Max Pacioretty, who blasted the winner past Pekka Rinne, earning himself the bonus $$$ that Weber and Radulov promised to the scorer who beat their former team.
The Canadiens were full value for their road win.
They dominated Nashville for extended stretches, outshooting the home team in all three periods en route to a 38-21 advantage through 60 minutes (the Predators were held to seven shots in each period).
The Overtime was bizarre.
The gang on L’Antichambre couldn’t figure out why Nashville sat back in a three-man zone defence that allowed the Canadiens to control the puck for about four minutes of the 4:30. Shots in OT were 5-2.
And Pacioretty’s winner put him in the Canadiens’ team record book: Seven OT goals equals a team mark held jointly by Saku Koivu and Howie Morenz.
Carey Price didn’t have as much work as Rinne, but the Canadiens’ goaltender was excellent. The one shot that beat Price changed direction off Nathan Beaulieu’s stick; and Price’s save on a Colton Sissons breakaway, early in the third period, kept the score 1-0.
Weber tied it up on the next shift.
In his postgame media scrum, telecast by L’Antichambre, Michel Therrien lauded “a very solid road game” in which the Canadiens’ displayed team spirit and and outstanding work ethic.
“It was a special game for Shea (Weber),” Therrien said, “but don’t forget Radulov. The crowd reaction to him was different, but it was an emotional game for both guys.”
The Canadiens’ defenceman, visibly moved by the home team’s classy scoreboard tribute to his years with the club, played one of his best games of the season. Weber did not put a skate wrong throughout the game, and his excellence has dramatically elevated the play of D partner Alexei Emelin.
There were no passengers on the Canadiens’ bus.
• Pacioretty had a mind-blowing 10 shots on goal … plus one that was blocked.
• Gaining confidence in his Top 6 role, Phillip Danault worked tirelessly on every shift and won 17 of his 23 face-offs.
• There were some scary moments for the pairing on the back end, but Jeff Petry has seven shots on goal. His partner, Nathan Beaulieu, had five (and blocked five shots).
A few blemishes:
Tomas Plekanec continues to struggle. Ryan Johnston is an adventure on the back end. The fourth line played less than eight minutes.
But it was a superb team effort.
And the Canadiens are unbeaten this year.
• Slapshot777 has a long Comment on the Liveblog:
On a night that was built up on the Weber/Subban matchup it was not to be as PK goes to the IR for 2-3 weeks minimum. That aside Weber still had his home coming to his former barn.
The Preds did a classy tribute to Weber and the game went on. Lost in all of this was also a former Preds player in bad boy Radulov. Fans didn’t forget to rain down the boos on Radulov who knew that his return would not be as glorious as Weber’s was going to be.
Like a storybook, Radulov handles the puck and looks for Weber who instead of his patented slap shot beats Rhinne with a wrist shot. Weber played a good game considering what he knew would be a difficult day with his return and the media just waiting to pounce on him with a barrage of questions.
Radulov had his own storyline to write and it wasn’t finished with the assist on Weber’s game tying goal. Has the boos got more and more constant the compete level for Radulov got more and more intense.
Now Radulov is an intense player as it is, but tonight he had something to prove. Yes he made a mistake as a young player and things were done that sent him packing back to the KHL.
Fast forward to 2016-17 and Radulov now a Montreal Canadiens is here to prove to some people who are still here that they made a mistake in the way they handled that situation going forward.
Radulov wanted that puck like a dog wanting a bone. He got it and there was not going to be a Predator tonight especially in “OT” take it from him and gets set up behind he nets and dangles the puck until a Pred defenseman makes the first move just enough to get a pass to Pacioretty who fires home the game winner.
Radulov who got the Nashville wrath leaves with the last laugh and goes out showing certain people that he is still the player he was drafted to be and that sometimes mistakes happen and you learn well tonight I guess Nashville learned that Radulov is still a force to be reckoned with and the chapter closes in Nashville on the Weber trade.
Now let’s focus on Dallas.