Predators Rout Canadiens

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Kimmo Timonen and the Nashville Predators had fun at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens.

Timonen scored on the first penalty shot in the second-year franchise's history and his professional hockey career as Nashville routed Montreal 6-1 on Thursday night.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Timonen said.

Timonen had not tried a penalty shot during his seven years in Finland or last season in his first NHL season. He had thought about it enough that he had a shot planned when he got his chance, but with 16,712 fans watching, he wound up changing his mind.

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  • "I was a little bit nervous. When I got close to the net, I decided to go backhand and that's what I did," said Timonen, who has three goals and 12 points to match his total from all of last season.

    The goal at 9:45 of the second period came less than three minutes after Karl Dykhuis pulled Montreal within a goal at 2-1 with a power-play goal. Nashville goalie Mike Dunham faced 32 shots as the Predators matched a franchise record for goals.

    Nashville, which has won three of its last four games after a five-game losing streak, scored the first two goals and never trailed against the struggling Canadiens.

    Rob Valicevic scored twice, Cliff Ronning had an unassisted goal, and Scott Walker and Mark Mowers added their first goals of the season.

    "We weren't prepared to play," Montreal defenseman Eric Weinrich said. "They're a better team than we are righ now. They outplayed us totally in the first period."

    Montreal came into the game with two of its top three scorers sidelined by injuries. Martin Rucinsky, who had five goals and three assists in the last seven games, sat out his first game this season because of a concussion, and Saku Koivu had shoulder surgery Thursday in Montreal.

    Koivu will miss at least 12 weeks, while Rucinsky might play Saturday in Los Angeles.

    "Right now the only way we can win games is if we try to keep it close," said Montreal coach Alain Vigneault. "We don't have a lot of offense right now."

    The Canadiens tried to jump-start themselves by fighting. They had three fights in the first 10:38 as Nashville built its lead.

    Montreal had its best chance at scoring in the first when Miloslav Guren fired a slap shot through Dunham's pads with the Predators up 1-0 only to see defenseman Joel Bouchard clear the puck inches from the line.

    Dykhuis' goal was his second of the season, but Montreal failed to score on four other power plays.

    Nashville quickly rebuilt its lead as Brian Savage hooked Timonen on a shorthanded breakaway, giving the Finn the first penalty shot for the second-year franchise. Timonen backhanded the puck over Jeff Hackett's stick at 9:45 for a 3-1 lead.

    Valicevic padded Nashville's lead with his second goal of the game on a power play 15 seconds into the third. He has six goals in his last four games. Scott Walker made it 5-1 when Tom Fitzgerald fed him for a shorthanded breakaway at 12:36, and Montreal then pulled Hackett.

    The game was delayed when Montreal's Dainius Zubrus broke a pane of glass with a shot from center ice with 5:29 left. Mowers completed the scoring by beating backup goalie Jose Theodore for the Nashville player's first NHL goal.

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