Roman Josi and Patrice Bergeron scored a pair of goals for their respective teams, but Ryan Ellis scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Nashville Predators topped the Boston Bruins, 4-3, at TD Garden on Saturday night.
Pekka Rinne (12-5-3 record, 2.98 goals against average, .895 save percentage in 20 games played) made 29 saves on 32 shots against for a .906 SV% in Nashville’s win.
Boston goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (8-3-4, 2.37 GAA, .924 SV% in 15 games played) stopped 25 out of 29 shots faced (.862 SV%) in the overtime loss.
The Bruins fell to 21-7-9 (51 points) on the season, but remained in command of 1st place in the Atlantic Division.
Meanwhile, the Predators improved to 17-12-6 (40 points) on the season and moved into 5th place in the Central Division.
Boston fell to 12-1-8 at home this season as a result of the loss.
Once more the Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) on Saturday.
John Moore was also out of the lineup for the second game in a row after missing Thursday night’s, 3-2, shootoutloss to the New York Islanders with an illness.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, opted to keep Connor Clifton in the lineup in place of Moore, while switching up his entire fourth line– scratching Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes in exchange for Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie.
Lindholm centered the fourth line while Sean Kuraly slid over to the left wing and Ritchie fit in on the right side.
Nordstrom, Backes and Moore made up Boston’s short list of healthy scratches against Nashville.
Less than a minute into the action on Saturday night, Viktor Arvisson was penalized for holding against Brad Marchand in Arvidsson’s first game back since missing the last 12 games with an injury.
Boston’s first power play of the night at 26 seconds of the first period was unsuccessful.
Almost midway through the opening frame, Anders Bjork slashed Ellis and presented Nashville with their first power play opportunity of the night at 7:13.
The Predators did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage and the Bruins managed to kill off Bjork’s minor.
Late in the period, David Krejci tripped up Matt Duchene and was charged with an infraction at 15:10, but Nashville’s power play was powerless through one period.
After 20 minutes of action on Saturday, the Bruins and Predators entered the first intermission tied, 0-0, with Boston leading in shots on goal, 11-8.
Nashville was 0/2 on the power play and Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the second period.
Dan Hamhuis jumpstarted the middle frame with a tripping minor at 4:23 of the second period, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the ensuing power play.
Boston did catch Nashville in the vulnerable minute after special teams play, however, as Lindholm (2) bumped into a loose puck off a rebound while being checked by a Predators defender and the rubber biscuit tumbled into the twine.
Ritchie (3) and Kuraly (9) had the assists on Lindholm’s first goal in 16 games as the Bruins took the, 1-0, lead at 7:30 of the second period.
Midway through the second period, Matt Grzelcyk slashed Duchene and presented the Predators with another power play at 10:19.
Nashville’s skater advantage was short lived, however, as Craig Smith tripped up Boston blue liner, Brandon Carlo, at 11:27.
The two clubs played 52 seconds of 4-on-4 hockey before the Bruins had an abbreviated 5-on-4 power play.
Shortly after making the kill, the Preds capitalized on the vulnerable minute after special teams action as Josi (12) snaked his way from the point to the slot and let go of a backhand shot that floated past Halak as Arvidsson acted as a fly-by screen in front of the Boston netminder.
Ryan Johansen (15) had the only assist on Josi’s first goal of the game at 12:14 and the Predators tied the game, 1-1.
Moments later, Filip Forsberg was penalized for roughing at 17:56 and the Bruins went back on the power play.
Late in the ensuing skater advantage, Bergeron (12) acted as the bumper and one-timed a shot past Rinne from point blank to give Boston the lead with a power play goal.
Torey Krug (20) had the only assist on Bergeron’s first goal of the night at 19:12 and the B’s led, 2-1.
Heading into the second intermission, Boston was ahead in the scoreboard, 2-1, but tied in shots on goal, 19-19, after Nashville rallied to an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal in the second period alone.
Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (11-10) and hits (22-14), while Nashville led in takeaways (14-5), giveaways (9-7) and faceoff win percentage (62-38).
The Predators were 0/3 on the skater advantage and the Bruins were 1/4 on the power play heading into the third period.
Midway through the final frame of regulation, the Preds took the game by storm.
Forsberg (13) poked home a loose puck through Halak’s short side while on a delayed call against Boston (that was ultimately negated by Nashville’s goal) and tied the game in the process, 2-2, at 7:35 of the third period.
Johansen (16) and Mattias Ekholm (14) notched the assists on Forsberg’s goal.
Just 35 seconds later, Josi (13) added his second goal of the night on an unassisted effort when Halak skated out of his crease and misplayed the puck in the high slot, effectively turning the rubber biscuit over to the Predators captain– leaving an empty goal frame for Josi to bury the puck in.
Josi’s goal at 8:10 of the third period gave Nashville their first lead of the night, 3-2, but the Bruins wouldn’t go down without a fight just yet.
After using his timeout after the Josi goal mishap, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with about two minutes left in regulation.
David Pastrnak unloaded a shot towards the goal that Bergeron (13) redirected for his second goal of the game– tying the game, 3-3, in the process.
Pastrnak (23) and Marchand (34) tallied the assists as Boston evened things up at 18:55 of the third period.
At the horn, the Bruins required extra time for the ninth time in their last 13 games as Boston and Nashville were knotted, 3-3, with the B’s leading in shots on goal, 30-26, after regulation.
Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (14-13), giveaways (12-10) and hits (28-23), while Nashville led in takeaways (15-8) and faceoff win% (53-47).
There were no penalties called in the third period or overtime period, so the Preds finished 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1/4 on the power play Saturday night.
In overtime, Peter Laviolette, started Duchene, Mikael Granlund and Josi for the Predators while Cassidy opted for Charlie Coyle, Bjork and Charlie McAvoy.
With less than a minute separating the two teams from going to a shootout, Nashville pounced on a wacky bounce in the attacking zone while the Bruins scrambled out of position.
Johansen flipped a quick pass to Ellis (6) as the Predators defender snuck in unnoticed and wired a one-timer into the twine– winning the game in the process.
Johansen (17) and Kyle Turris (11) notched the assists as the Preds picked up the, 4-3, overtime victory at 4:05 of the overtime period.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (32-29), blocked shots (15-14), giveaways (13-10) and hits (29-24), while Nashville left the Hub with the advantage in faceoff win% (52-48) and the final result.
The Predators improved to 2-4 in overtime this season, while the Bruins fell to 2-4.
Boston has lost eight of their last nine games and are 1-4-4 in that span. But the B’s still have a nine-point lead over 2nd place in the Atlantic Division.
The Bruins fell to 5-1-5 when tied after one period, 14-5-5 when scoring the game’s first goal and 11-0-3 when leading after two periods this season.
They have now lost eight out of their last nine games and are 1-4-4 in that span.
Boston wraps up their four-game homestand (0-0-3) on Monday night (Dec. 23rd) as they host the Washington Capitals before the league-wide holiday break kicks in from Dec. 24th through the 26th.
The Bruins travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres in a home-and-home on Dec. 27th before hosting Jack Eichel and his teammates on Dec. 29th. The B’s finish off the month of December in New Jersey on Dec. 31st.