NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Montreal Canadiens knew just how much it meant to Shea Weber and Alexander Radulov to return to Music City.
Leaving with a victory is so much sweeter.
Weber scored in the third period of his first game back in Nashville and Max Pacioretty had a goal late in overtime, helping the Montreal Canadiens beat the Predators 2-1 on Tuesday night.
“I’m just so happy to get the win for those guys,” Pacioretty said. “They would never admit it, those two, but as a group, we knew that we wanted to get this one. It would be a little bit extra special. It was nice for both of them to get two points and especially in that fashion.”
Weber helped send it to overtime with his tying goal at 4:26 of the third. This was the first game between these teams since a stunning blockbuster trade last June, when they swapped All-Star defencemen, with the Predators getting P.K. Subban.
“It feels good to win, so whether it is scoring a goal or blocking a shot, I just happened to score a goal,” Weber said. “It was big.”
Radulov, who started his NHL career with Nashville, had two assists. Carey Price made 22 saves for his first win in four games.
Kevin Fiala scored and Pekka Rinne made 41 saves as the Predators ended a three-game winning streak against Montreal.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette called the loss unacceptable.
“If it were not for Pekka in net, we would not have a point right now,” Laviolette said.
Subban was placed on injured reserve Sunday and missed his eighth game with an upper-body injury. Subban was announced earlier Tuesday as the fans’ choice as Central Division captain for the NHL All-Star Game.
With Subban out, Weber had the spotlight as a Nashville draft pick who served as captain from 2010 until the trade.
The Predators honoured Weber, who just played his 800th career NHL game on Saturday night, with a video tribute during the first TV timeout, and fans gave him a standing ovation. Weber peaked at the video a couple times trying not to get too emotional, then waved to the crowd before raising his stick as he skated onto the ice for his next shift.
Fans weren’t finished. They chanted “Thank you Weber” for a minute or so into that shift.
“The tribute that the Predators showed and the reaction of the fans showed a lot of respect for him,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “Our guys were really proud for him.”
The Canadiens nearly went ahead on a second-chance try in the second period after Rinne stopped an initial shot at the right post. Nathan Beaulieu skated behind the net and tried a wraparound only to have Rinne slide back to his left and smother the puck with his glove at the post at 14:48.
Price couldn’t stop Fiala, whose shot went off Beaulieu’s stick and past the goalie at 19:06 of the second for his sixth this season and a 1-0 lead.
Radulov was booed every time he stepped on the ice. He finished with two assists, the first when he drew the Predators to him before passing the puck out to Weber all alone in the slot for his 10th goal this season. Radulov also found Pacioretty, who scored his 16th goal for the win.
“It’s just a game. I can’t really control that,” Radulov said of the booing. “They are the fans, they buy the tickets, and they’re allowed to do whatever they want. The team played good.”
Notes: This was the 3,300th road game in Montreal’s history in the NHA and NHL combined. … Montreal left wing Paul Byron played his 100th career game with the Canadiens. … Nashville has gotten at least a point in 10 straight games against the Canadiens. … Montreal improved to 4-6 in overtime. Nashville dropped to 1-7.
Canadians: Continue their seven-game trip at Dallas on Wednesday night.
Predators: Start three-game trip at Tampa Bay on Thursday night.