The Montreal Canadiens leave the Lone Star state, having been defeated by an ex-teammate whose departure resulted in a few raised eyebrows at Habs management. Now, they arrive in Music City, where a longtime former blueline stalwart awaits.
But enough about Alexei Emelin, despite his surprisingly semi-competent start to the season.
The last time the Habs visited Nashville, the night focused on Shea Weber’s return to the city he called home for over a decade, and the ex-Predators captain responded with a goal in a 2-1 Canadiens victory. This time, the spotlight will be on the other player in that fateful trade. P.K. Subban was injured during that game last year, and this will mark the first time the Canadiens visit Subban in his new home.
Subban, who lives for big moments like these, will lead a Nashville team that’s starting to find its legs after a rocky start. After a 5-4-2 October, the Predators are 7-2-0 in November with seven wins in their last eight games, powered by a healthy Roman Josi, 16 points from Subban, and three points in two games from recent acquisition Kyle Turris.
How to watch
Puck drop: 8:00 PM EST, 5:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: SN1 (English), RDS (French)
In the Predators region: FS-TN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
Despite still being led by Viktor Arvidsson (15 points) and Filip Forsberg (21 points), this is not the same team that came within two games of the Stanley Cup last season. Kevin Fiala (13 points), who was injured during the second round of last year’s playoffs against the St. Louis Blues, and Ryan Johansen (13 points), knocked out of commission against the Anaheim Ducks, are in the lineup. Furthermore, Pekka Rinne (0.921 Sv%) is not the below-ECHL level goaltender that he was at the Consol Energy Center.
If this preview is Predators-heavy, it’s because there’s not much to say about the Canadiens that hasn’t already been said. The Habs right now are short on confidence, short on consistency, and short on structure. Shea Weber’s status is questionable after the cornerstone of the Canadiens’ blueline missed the game against Dallas, and it’s unclear whether Claude Julien will go with Charlie Lindgren on back-to-back nights, a not-necessarily-healthy Carey Price, or out-of-form Antti Niemi to face the Predators.
Regardless of which 20 individuals don the bleu-blanc-et-rouge sweater tonight, a full 60 minute effort will be required against the Nashville Predators. You can be certain that at least one player in mustard yellow has been looking forward to this game for over a year.