With Carey Price still injured, the Canadiens went with goaltender Dustin Tokarski tonight in net, who replaced Mike Condon in Saturday's loss to the Stars. He was quickly introduced to Captain Shea Weber, who put the Preds up 1-0. From there, Roman Josi joined Weber in an All-Star worthy defensive performance by the best blue-line pair in the league. The two combined for 5 points and 6 shots on the night, helping chase the back-up back-up goaltender in favor of the back-up goaltender. Ryan Ellis, Calle Jarnkrok and Colin Wilson (!) also scored for the Preds.
Pekka Rinne added to the fun with his best performance in weeks. He had to face some tough shots by a talented Canadiens team and was up to the challenge. The Preds conceded possession for much of the game (a new trend perhaps? Or just a fluke?) and needed a good game from Rinne in order to remain competitive. They got it. He had 35 saves in the win. Alex Galchenyuk put the Habs on the board with a power-play goal late in the 3rd.
And so the Preds go into the brief Christmas break with back-to-back wins over a couple of playoff teams.
- The Preds with another good start! Weber's slapper puts the Preds up 1-0, but as usual give credit to his blue-line partner Josi for making the play happen with his skating ability. His ability to cut across the middle of the offensive zone, weaving in and out of opponents, is just fantastic to watch.
- Boy, the Habs are much more manageable without Brendan Gallagher. Pacioretty and Plekanec really need his physical scoring ability in the middle of the ice to round out their line. Pekka Rinne played well in the 1st period for sure (his glove looks snappy tonight), but he also didn't have Gallagher out there wreaking havoc in the crease the whole period.
- Rinne with a huge stop on the penalty-kill! The Canadiens moving the puck really well, but Rinne came across to make a left pad save on the low slot shot by Alex Galchenyuk. Maybe Rinne's best save of the game. He's been sharp amid a barrage of Habs shots.
- Watching the Preds get out-shot is strange. It's even stranger when it accompanies a lead. What even is life?
- Oh, goodness me. Roman Josi with the power-play snipe. 2-0 Preds. I mean, what are opponents to do if they have to deal with Weber's slapper and Josi's laser from the blue-line? What weaponry. Those two are just... crazy good.
- As nice as a 2-0 lead is, we are absolutely trapped in our own zone. The Canadiens are working extremely hard on the boards and generating high quality chances in dangerous places. Preds are getting badly out-shot and just can't generate a forecheck long enough to maintain possession. Rinne has been stellar, which is why the lead is intact.
- Josi and Weber have a combined 50 points on the season. The Anaheim Ducks have a combined 44 points by 8 defensemen this year. #unpromptedanaheimducksburn
Craig SmithRyan Ellis with a fortunate bounce in front and it's 3-0! The Preds with a commanding lead on the scoreboard despite an un-commanding lead on the shot counter. I ask again, what is life?
- Good for Iron Hook, getting a well deserved goal. And a well deserved Frosty.
- Admit it: you thought Wilson would miss the open net, didn't you?
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne: This is what we need to see. Make the saves that you know how to make, Pekka. Awesome night from him.
- Roman Josi: Cue the Norris talk maybe? Like, I mean, outside of the 615 area code.
- Shea Weber: Captain, clutch, calm, cannon.
Tweets of the Night
Laviolette officially winning more challenges than Munchak— Jewdolph (@hairmetalhenry) December 22, 2015
Roll the video highlights...