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Canadiens vs. Predators game recap: Blown Away

A good third period was not enough during Country Night at the Bell Centre.

NHL: MAR 10 Predators at Canadiens Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There’s a joke that if you play a country song backwards, you get your wife, your truck, your house, and your dog back. If you play Tuesday night’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators backwards, you would see the Canadiens blow a 2-0 lead in an eventual 4-2 loss.

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Of course for everyone watching the game in real time, Montreal never had a 2-0 lead. After a scoreless first period, they allowed four second period goals to fall behind 4-0. A better effort in the third left a better taste in their mouth, but it was too little, too late.

It was a slow start for Montreal. A couple of breakdowns led to Nashville chances early on, and they took two early penalties. They were able to kill the penalties and also had a power play chance of their own.

The Canadiens best chance in the opening period came from the new line of Charles Hudon, Max Domi, and Brendan Gallagher. Hudon got the puck, and made a great play to split the defence. He was not able to beat Juuse Saros.

The second period is when things started to unravel for the Canadiens. Ryan Johansen opened the scoring just 51 seconds into the frame. After a two-on-one was thwarted, Johansen followed up the play and found a soft spot in the slot of the Montreal defence and fired a wrist shot past Carey Price.

Two minutes after that, Nashville doubled their lead. Immediately off of a faceoff, Calle Jarnkrok took the puck and fired a shot past Price and just like that, Montreal was behind 2-0 less than three minutes in.

The Filip Forsberg show started after that. Forsberg assisted on Johansen’s opening marker and he scored the third and fourth goals for the Predators. His first goal was on the power play when he absolutely wired a shot past Price from the circle. His second came with four minutes remaining in the middle frame off a nifty tip pass from Roman Josi. Again, from the wide circle he fired the shot into the gaping cage.

The Canadiens showed some fight in the third period. A fight that they didn’t look like they had in them through the first 40 minutes.

Artturi Lehkonen, who was part of a stellar line with Nick Suzuki and Jordan Weal — Montreal’s best on the night — got the Canadiens on the board when he took a bounce off the end boards and put it past Saros for his 13th goal of the year.

Still in the first half of the third period, the fourth line got on the board. Dale Weise found a wide-open Lukas Vejdemo in front of the net and he scored his first career NHL goal. It was a great moment for Vejdemo, who was sent down to the Laval Rocket shortly after the game.

Montreal had chances to get closer. Brett Kulak missed a chance at the side of the net, and with the goalie pulled they had other chances on Saros from Lehkonen and Brendan Gallagher, but could not beat the Nashville goaltender. The Canadiens outshot Nashville 13-4 in the final 20 minutes, and the shots were 36-34 Nashville on the night.

The next game at the Bell Centre will be Thursday night when Montreal faces the Buffalo Sabres in their last game before a West Coast road trip that will see them go to Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Colorado.