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Nashville Predators vs. Montreal Canadiens Preview: No Love on Valentine’s Day

The Canadiens are better than the Red Wings, but will the Predators be their own enemy again?

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Nashville Predators Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Author note: Montreal is my pick for one of the two teams in the Eastern Conference Final. They’ve finally put all their pieces back together. I’m looking forward to their efforts in the playoffs.

Nashville Predators

The Predators dropped their third in a row on Tuesday evening against the Red Wings. Viktor Arvidsson scored his 25th of the season and P.K. Subban scored for the first time since his goal in Toronto in early January.

Pekka Rinne shouldered the blame for Tuesday’s loss, but in reality, the team effort has been below average...with the exception of the JoFA line.

Brian Boyle continues to make his presence known on the power play. His effective screening will pay dividends for the boys in gold.

Expect Juuse Saros in net tonight. Rinne has had some awful games lately, and Saros certainly needs a rebound game after the debacle that was Sunday afternoon.

Montreal Canadiens

Max Domi leads the Canadiens in points with 49 (17 goals, 32 assists). It’s safe to say his change of scenery has been good to him. Jonathan Drouin has 46 points (17 goals, 29 assists) and Tomas Tatar has 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists).

Jeff Petry leads Habs defenders in points with 38 (10 goals, 28 assists). Captain Shea Weber has 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in roughly 25 fewer games.

Rookie center Jesperi Kotkaniemi is having a stellar season. He has 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) and is quickly winning over the hearts of all Habs fans.

Carey Price is doing Carey Price things in net. The star goalie has a .915 Sv% over 42 games. Backup Antti Niemi has looked notably average, however. He has a .893 Sv% over 15 games.

The Canadiens made some trades earlier this week. They acquired (re-acquired) Dale Weise and Christian Folin from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for David Schlemko and Byron Froese.

The Canadiens also acquired center Nate Thompson from the Kings in return for a 4th-round pick.

Paul Byron is sidelined with an injury and did not travel with the team.

The Canadiens have won 3 of their last 4, dropping their last contest to Toronto.

Memories and Feelings

  • Hello, Shea Weber. Expect the former captain to get a whole bunch of cheers in Bridgestone tonight.
  • I’d like Jesperi Kotkaniemi or Shea Weber to be my Valentine.

Reasons to Watch

  • Per Sportsnet, tonight’s game will be Shea Weber’s 900th NHL game.
  • It’s Valentine’s Day, so I understand if you’re on a date with your significant other. However, if you’re spending the evening in, the Preds game is on at 7:00. What’s better than hockey and chocolate and pizza?

Tonight’s Theme Song

“Breaking Free” by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. Yes, I know this is from High School Musical. No, I’m not sorry. The Preds need to break free from whatever invisible spectre of mediocrity is haunting them.

Tonight’s Drink of Choice

Based on the way the Predators are playing, I know I’ll need something stiffer than normal. A whiskey sour...y'all choose the whiskey.

How to Watch

Puck drop is at 7 PM Central. FS-TN has the game and 102.5 The Game will have the radio call.

Tonight’s game is a spotlight on Mattias Ekholm. He’s going to be mic’d up and his fiancée, Ida, will be on with Willy and Chris in the booth during intermission.