The Nashville Predators lost their 1000th game in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at Bridgestone Arena.
Nick Spaling returned to the lineup, having not played since October 29th against Anaheim. Known for his strong penalty killing skills, Spaling played 13:02, including 2:41 shorthanded.
“It felt pretty good. I was ready to come back today. I had a couple extra days to rest before tonight so that helped. I felt good out there,” Spaling said.
With Matt Halischuk in the box for tripping, Spaling picked up his third assist of the season on Shea Weber’s shorthanded goal.
“It was a hard shot there. [Weber] picked it off the post. That’s a tough shot to make,” Spaling said about Weber’s goal. It was the All-Star defenseman’s second goal of the season. Ryan Suter also picked up an assist.
The goal, scored at 3:20 into the second period, tied the game at 1-1. Montreal scored in the first period with just under 6 minutes left in the opening frame when David Desharnais picked up his third goal of the season.
It was the Predators second shorthanded goal in as many games. Martin Erat was awarded a penalty shot and scored during a Predators penalty kill against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.
Spaling was a +1, recorded one shot on goal and was 83 percent in the faceoff circle. The center said the team talks about the importance of winning faceoffs and stated “when you start with the puck that is time you don’t have to use trying to get it back.”
Predators head coach Barry Trotz was happy with Spaling in his return to the lineup. “I thought [Spaling] skated really well. I was really happy with that line, for the most part. They were pretty responsible and they had some chances,” he said.
Max Pacioretty scored at 2:31 into the overtime period to end the game.
The Predators have points in 7 of their last 8 games and now play four more games at home before heading to Minnesota to play the Wild. Up next at Bridgestone Arena is Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. The puck drops shortly after 7 pm CT.