Preds' Bonk gets tying goal, then scores in shootout to sink Habs

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
Dec 1, 2007
The Hockey News

Preds' Bonk gets tying goal, then scores in shootout to sink Habs

The Canadian Press
By: The Canadian Press
Dec 1, 2007

MONTREAL - It wasn't revenge Radek Bonk wanted from his former team, the Montreal Canadiens. It was two points.

The veteran centre got both as he scored the tying goal with 47 seconds left in regulation time and then scored in a shootout to lift the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 victory over Montreal on Saturday night.

"It's not just because I scored against Montreal that I'm excited," said Bonk, who was cut loose last summer after two seasons with the Canadiens as the team adjusted its payroll to meet the salary cap. "If you can contribute against any team it feels good.

"I had a great time playing here."

It was a second wild-but-happy ending in a row for the Predators, who used a goal with 22 seconds left in regulation time by Martin Erat to defeat the Senators 6-5 in Ottawa on Thursday night.

This time, they trailed 3-0 going into the third period and 4-1 with 9:19 left to play before reeling off three straight goals.

David Legwand got one at 12:26, then Greg De Vries wafted a wrist shot from the point that sailed past Cristobal Huet with 3:05 left to play to cut Montreal's lead to one goal.

Canadiens centre Bryan Smolinski took a tripping penalty with less than two minutes to play and, with goalie Dan Ellis pulled for an extra attacker, Bonk scored his 10th of the season to force overtime and a shootout.

Erat also scored in the shootout for Nashville, while only Montreal captain Saku Koivu was able to beat Ellis.

"We had a good first half and then it was a complete disaster in the second half," said fuming Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau. "Our veterans didn't do the job at the end.

"You go with guys you count on at the end of a game and they're not doing it."

The Canadiens (13-9-4) have only one win in their last five games.

Nashville (13-9-2), which posted its first win in five visits all-time to the Bell Centre, completes a three-game trip Tuesday night in Toronto.

The collapse that quieted a partying crowd of 21,273 started for Montreal when Jed Ortmeyer, with his first of the season, collected a shoot-in misplayed by Huet behind his net and pounded it into a open goal 8:40 into the third period.

Guillaume Latendresse got it back at 10:41 and Montreal looked to be back in control before the late deluge of Nashville goals.

"We felt we could come back," added Bonk. "We got that big goal from Ortie and we just kept coming at them.

"It just shows how resilient this team is. We always know we have a chance to win."

Carbonneau, whose team had been shut out in two of its three previous games, shuffled all four of his lines in a bid for even-strength scoring and that part of it worked - they scored four five-on-five goals.

But perhaps a fragile psyche came into play as the Canadiens folded under pressure late in the third.

"It wasn't the lines, it was the effort," said Carbonneau.

Nashville, which outshot Montreal 44-26, had most of the good chances in the first period, but the Canadiens took a 2-0 lead on their first six shots to chase goalie Chris Mason in favour of Ellis.

Alex Kovalev lost the puck off the end of his stick, but Chris Higgins was there to spin and put it in off the far post 9:02 into the game.

Plekanec went in on the right wing and saw his weak backhander beat Mason between the pads at 13:39.

The goals came as Huet stopped three Nashville breakaways, while Shea Weber and Jordin Tootoo hit goalposts.

Latendresse made it 3-0 when he trailed in to take Kyle Chipchura's pass, deke to the backhand and lift a puck over Ellis at 9:30 of the second frame. The second-year winger started the season slowly but now has five goals in his last eight games.

Notes - Predators forward J.P. Dumont will have his No. 96 jersey retired by his former junior team, the Val-d'Or Foreurs, on Sunday. Alexander Radulov had his jersey retired by the Quebec Remparts on Wednesday. . . . Tom Kostopoulos and Steve Begin were healthy scratches for Montreal, while Ville Koistinen, Kevin Klein and Darcy Hordichuk didn't play for Nashville.

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Preds' Bonk gets tying goal, then scores in shootout to sink Habs