Canadiens top Predators 4-3 on night of honouring former defenceman P.K Subban

MONTREAL — Elevated by the pre-game ceremony held for P.K. Subban, the Montreal Canadiens held off a late third-period rally to take a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Cole Caufield scored two goals, while Kirby Dach had one goal and one assist for Montreal (17-22-3). Jake Evans added the other marker and Jonathan Drouin dished out three assists.

Samuel Montembeault made 39 saves.

Nino Niederreiter, Filip Forsberg and Juuso Parssinen replied for Nashville (19-16-6), which dropped its second in a row.

In his NHL debut, Yaroslav Askarov stopped 31-of-35 shots.

Montreal pressured the rookie goaltender with a 5-0 shot count early and outshot Nashville 19-8 in the first period.

However, it was Niederrretiter who broke the ice at 10:35. He tipped in a puck from Roman Josi, who sent a centring pass from the slot.

Evans tied the game just under three minutes later when he sent a shot on net that Askarov caught a piece of with his blocker, but not enough for a save.

The Canadiens took a 2-1 advantage when Jesse Ylonen found Dach open near the left post. The 21-year-old then fired a one-timer for his seventh of the campaign.

Nashville levelled the score 12 seconds into the second period when Matt Duchene found Forsberg in front of the net.

Midway through the frame, Nick Suzuki sent a cross-ice pass to Caufield who gave Montreal its second lead of the night on the man advantage.

Caufield bagged his second power-play goal 6:15 into the final frame. Dach sent a cross-ice pass to the winger who scored on a one-timer.

The Predators, who outshot the Canadiens 20-7 in the period, pulled Askarov with just under three minutes remaining. With 1:29 left, Parssinen cut their deficit to one goal with a slap shot.

CANADIENS HONOUR SUBBAN

The Montreal Canadiens honoured Subban, who retired ahead of the 2022-23 season. Subban addressed the crowd and was met with a standing ovation.

“It's always an emotional time and the respect is overwhelming,” the former defenceman said. “Everybody wants to be respected but when it's like that, you never really know how to handle it. I just tried to take it in stride and be appreciative of the fact that I played here.”

Subban added that Canadiens owner Geoff Molson reached out to him not long after his retirement to offer the opportunity for the ceremony.

The Toronto native played seven of his 13 seasons with the Canadiens. He also played for the Predators and hung up his skates after a stint with the New Jersey Devils. He totalled 467 points (115 goals, 352 assists) in 834 career games and won the Norris trophy as the league's top defenceman in 2013.

UP NEXT

The Canadiens will head to the Big Apple to take on the New York Islanders on Saturday.

The Predators will return home to host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2023.

Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press