NASHVILLE (CP) - The Montreal Canadiens found a way to score in the first period again but needed an overtime goal by David Desharnais to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-3 at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.
Desharnais stole the puck from Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm along the left-wing boards, skated toward the net and his slap shot from the faceoff circle beat Carter Hutton at 1:43.
Montreal took a 3-0 lead in a span of 3:07 after going eight games without a first-period goal, dating to Dec. 4.
Passing plays -- one bad one by Nashville and two good ones by Montreal -- created the scoring spurt.
Ekholm failed to connect with teammate Viktor Stalberg in the defensive zone, and the puck came off the boards to Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. He glided into the center of the ice and his shot from between the circles beat Marek Mazanec 11:30 into the game for a 1-0 lead.
It became 2-0 less than two minutes later when Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher sent a right-to-left, cross-ice pass through the neutral zone that found Max Pacioretty in stride. Pacioretty headed for the net and lifted a backhand past Mazanec at 13:20.
It took 1:17 for it to become 3-0. Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk forced the puck off the boards in the neutral zone, where it was gathered by Tomas Plekanec. He fed Brian Gionta entering the offensive zone then tipped in the return give-and-go pass at 14:37.
Nashville then replaced Mazanec, who faced five shots, with Hutton. On Friday, the team announced goalie Pekka Rinne's return has been delayed, with his attempt to take on more strenuous activity after surgery to treat a hip infection pushed back two more weeks.
Hutton made 17 saves before the overtime goal.
The Predators made it 3-1 at 11:51 of the second period. Stalberg won a race to the puck behind the Canadiens net and Matt Cullen was able to send a pass from there to Gabriel Bourque, whose wrist shot beat Carey Price high.
Nashville made it 3-2 with 1:51 to go in the second when Nick Spaling tipped in Shea Weber's shot-pass on a power play.
Weber scored the tying goal on a power play with 6:20 remaining in regulation. Mike Fisher's pass from behind the Canadiens goal found Weber in the left faceoff circle, and he pushed a shot past Price.
Predators defenseman Seth Jones left the game after being hit near the face by a deflected shot late in the first period.
Jones was struck by the puck after a shot by Subban ricocheted on the way to the net. Jones went down immediately and needed assistance leaving the ice with 6.8 seconds to go in the period.
Montreal does not play against until Dec. 28 at the Tampa Bay Lightning, with two days off before the three-day Christmas break.
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