NASHVILLE, Tenn. – David Desharnais enjoys playing in high-pressure situations, and showed how much Saturday night.
Desharnais scored at 1:43 of overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Desharnais stripped the puck from defenceman Mattias Ekholm along the left boards, skated to the left faceoff dot and put a slap shot over goalie Carter Hutton’s left shoulder.
“I like playing those overtimes, those shootouts, I want to make the difference,” Desharnais said. “I knew he was going to try to hold that puck there, so I just beat him to the puck and took a shot.”
P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal.
“The most important thing was for us to win the hockey game,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “What an effort from David Desharnais. It was a great effort to pursue the puck and stay in the play, and he took a perfect shot.”
Gabriel Bourque, Nick Spaling, and Shea Weber scored for Nashville. The Predators have lost three straight.
The Predators lost rookie defenceman Seth Jones late in the first period. A shot from the left point by Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov hit traffic in front and struck Jones on the left side of his face, and he did not return to the game.
Subban opened the scoring at 11:30 of the first period, taking the puck from the right point into the high slot and then beating goalie Marek Mazanec with a slap shot. It was the reigning Norris Trophy winner’s fifth goal of the season.
Just under two minutes later, Pacioretty doubled the Montreal lead. Brendan Gallagher sent a pass from inside the Montreal blue line to Pacioretty in the neutral zone. He drove down the left side around defenceman Kevin Klein and beat Mazanec with a backhand.
Plekanec made it 3-0 with 5:23 left in the period when he redirected a feed from Brian Gionta past Mazanec.
That ended the night for Mazanec. Hutton, who started Nashville’s last five games, relieved him. Hutton was lifted from Nashville’s last game Thursday night in Tampa after allowing four goals on 14 shots.
“I think this is a strong point in coming back,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “I look at the first period and we didn’t play poorly. They executed on a couple of things, but we didn’t get any saves. I mean three goals in five shots. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Maz’s night.”
Montreal’s three-goal outburst ended a stretch of eight games in which it failed to score in the opening period.
Bourque got Nashville on the board at 11:51 of the second when he beat Carey Price with a wrist shot from the lower part of the right circle.
With less than two minutes remaining in the period and Nashville on the power play, Spaling tipped home a pass by Shea Weber.
Nashville carried the play in the second, outshooting Montreal 20-6 in the period.
“It was a tough start for us, and we’ve talked about having good starts in this building,” Weber said. “But we showed a lot of character tonight and did a lot of good things. That’s going to build some confidence.”
Weber tied it 3 with a power-play goal at 13:40 of the third. Just 8 seconds after Subban was sent off for tripping Matt Cullen, Mike Fisher found Weber on the left side, where he beat Price with a one-timer for his team-leading ninth goal.
“You have a player like Webs out there making some pretty good plays,” Price said. “That was a pretty top-notch slap pass to the back door guy and that was a great shot. And he’s going to shoot a puck like that, you are going to score almost every time.”
Price made 31 saves for his 17th win of the season.
NOTES: Entering Saturday, Nashville and Colorado were the only teams Price had failed to beat. … Nashville C Colin Wilson returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Thursday night in Tampa … Montreal D Josh Georges missed the game because of a lower-body injury, ending his games streak at 167.