Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Montreal leads 1-0

Game 1: Thursday, December 18th
Predators4Final
OT
Canadiens5

Predators 4

(14-12-2, 32 pts)

Canadiens 5

(15-13-1, 35 pts)

7:30 PM ET, December 18, 2003

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 OT T
NSH 2 1 1 04
MTL 1 1 2 15

S. Souray (Canadiens - D): Goals: 3, Assists: 1

M. Ribeiro (Canadiens - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 4

S. Walker (Predators - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Montreal wins in OT on Souray's third

MONTREAL (AP) -- Sheldon Souray's injured wrist is even better than before he was hurt.

Souray scored 35 seconds into overtime for his first career three-goal game, giving the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Souray has 11 goals this season since returning from four operations on his left wrist. The injury cost him all of last season and limited him to 34 games in 2001-02. He had never scored more than three goals in a season.

"I don't think I shoot harder than before, I'm just getting the puck on the net a lot and that's something the coaches here have worked on and I've tried to improve on," Souray said.

Souray scored power-play goals in the first and second periods for his fourth multigoal game of the season. He got the winner when he finished off a two-on-one by redirecting Jan Bulis' pass into a wide-open left side.

Saku Koivu scored a power-play goal with 5:08 left in the third period to draw Montreal even for the fourth time. Richard Zednik also scored a power-play goal earlier in the period as the Canadiens went 4-for-5 with the man advantage.

Mike Ribeiro had assists on all four of Montreal's man-advantage goals.

"I think we competed well, but some mental errors cost," Montreal coach Claude Julien said. "That's what cost us some goals."

Jason York, Scott Walker, Jeremy Stevenson and Rem Murray scored for Nashville, winless in five (0-2-1-2) since a franchise-record six-game winning streak from Nov. 24-Dec. 4.

"I'd say disappointing is an understatement," Predators defenseman Mark Eaton said. "When you have the lead four times you have to bear down, especially on the penalty kill. We didn't get the job done. These are games we have to have. You need to win if you have the lead once, let alone four times."

Nashville had killed 37 of its previous 38 penalties.

"We stood around and watched them shoot," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We allowed them too many seam passes and Souray was blasting away."

Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore was struck on the collarbone by Pierre Dagenais' shot during the pregame warmup. Theodore started but left after allowing two goals on four shots in the first period.

"It's pretty close to the throat so it was just in a place where there's not too much padding, and it was like the third shot of the warmup so I wasn't expecting a high shot like that," Theodore said.

Theodore spoke with Dagenais, who expressed remorse.

"I think he's going to learn that the first couple of shots in warmup you keep them low, I guess," said Theodore, day-to-day with a bad bruise. He hopes to play Saturday in Toronto.

York ended his 61-game goal drought when he opened the scoring 1:34 in with a drive from the point past Theodore for his first goal since Jan 27.

Souray tied it at 7:09 with a power-play goal on a slap shot from the point.

Walker scored his eighth at 18:27 when he tucked a shot inside the right post to make it 2-1.

Mathieu Garon replaced Theodore to begin the second and caught a break early in the period. An apparent goal by Adam Hall was waved off because Garon was knocked down in a collision with Stevenson and Montreal defenseman Francis Bouillon.

Souray scored his second of the game on a power play at 5:18 to tie it at 2, but Stevenson gave Nashville another one-goal lead when he scored his first of the season at 11:55.

Zednik got his 11th goal 1:33 into the third as the Canadiens drew even for the third time.

Murray scored for the third straight game just 1:12 later to give the Predators their fourth one-goal lead at 2:45.

Murray got credit for his seventh goal when his shot deflected off Montreal defenseman Stephane Quintal and sailed over goalie Garon's left shoulder and into the net.

Koivu drove a slap shot past Tomas Vokoun into the right side of the net for his fifth goal 14:52 into the third to tie it again.

Game notes


Hundreds of Inuit from northern Canada were on hand as rookie Predators RW Jordin Tootoo made his first NHL appearance in Canada. Tootoo's grandmother, aunt and uncle were on hand from his hometown of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut Territory, as well as the premier of the territory, Paul Okalik. ... Souray had never had a two-goal game before this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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