Six different players scored goals in the Boston Bruins’, 6-2, victory over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
B’s netminder, Tuukka Rask (16-4-6 record, 2.29 goals against average, .924 save percentage in 26 games played) stopped 33 out of 35 shots faced for a .943 SV% in the win.
Predators goaltender, Pekka Rinne (14-9-3, 3.06 GAA, .894 SV% in 26 games played) made 30 saves on 35 shots against for an .857 SV% in the loss.
Boston remained in command of the Atlantic Division with a 25-8-11 record this season and 61 points. Meanwhile, Nashville fell to 19-16-7 (45 points), but remained in 6th place in the Central Division.
The Bruins improved to 11-6-2 on the road this season and snapped a three-game losing streak.
Kevan Miller (knee) has yet to make his season debut and missed his 44th game this season due to complications stemming from an injury last season.
Meanwhile, the Bruins were also without the services of Connor Clifton (upper body) and Joakim Nordstrom (illness) against the Predators.
Steven Kampfer was assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Sunday before being recalled on Monday likely for cap reasons and as a result of Clifton’s extended stay in the press box with an injury.
Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a few minor moves to his lineup entering Tuesday night in Nashville– most notably moving up Anders Bjork to the second line right wing with Jake DeBrusk at left wing and David Krejci at center.
Danton Heinen, Charlie Coyle and Brett Ritchie comprised of the third line, while Sean Kuraly moved over to the left wing of the fourth line with Par Lindholm at center and Chris Wagner on the right side.
On defense, Zdeno Chara remained paired with Charlie McAvoy on the top pairing, while Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders as usual.
John Moore was back on the left side of the third pairing with Matt Grzelcyk on his right side.
David Backes and Kampfer were the only healthy scratches for the B’s on Tuesday.
While Boston made line changes, Nashville made a head coaching change prior to their meeting with the Bruins.
After losing to the Ducks, 5-4, in a shootout on Sunday night in Anaheim, the Predators fired Peter Laviolette on Monday and hired John Hynes as just their third head coach in franchise history Tuesday afternoon.
Kevin McCarthy was also let go by the Preds and Rob Scuderi was hired as an assistant coach in place of McCarthy.
Brad Marchand cross checked Viktor Arvidsson 14 seconds into the first period, but Arvidsson also cut a rut to the penalty box for embellishment on the delayed call.
The two teams played 4-on-4 for two minutes and were almost unscathed except for when David Pastrnak (32) glided through the neutral zone, skated around Calle Jarnkrok and blasted a shot past Rinne just a couple of feet after entering the offensive zone to give Boston the, 1-0, lead at 1:36 of the first period.
McAvoy (14) and Grzelcyk (10) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal.
Moments later, Kuraly hit Matt Duchene from behind along the glass and received a two-minute minor for boarding at 6:10.
Nashville did not convert on their first power play opportunity of the night.
Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led the Predators, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 13-8, in shots on goal.
Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (3-1) and faceoff win percentage (53-47), while the Preds led in giveaways (3-2) and hits (8-2).
Both teams had four takeaways aside and the Predators were 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame. Boston had yet to see any action on the power play.
Nashville thought they had tied the game up 61 seconds into the second period when Nick Bonino batted the puck out of the air and over the goal line while the net was knocked off its moorings, but after review it was determined that the actions of a Predators player had caused the net to come off– therefore negating the goal.
Rocco Grimaldi bumped McAvoy and sent the Bruins defender barreling into the post– knocking the net off its pegs as Bonino worked his magic.
The score remained, 1-0, for Boston at 1:01 of the second period.
About a minute later, the B’s had too many skaters on the ice and were assessed a bench minor penalty that was served by Ritchie.
Once more the Preds couldn’t convert on the ensuing legal skater advantage.
Almost midway through the second period, Heinen (7) sniped a shot over Rinne’s blocker side and into the corner pocket of the twine to score his first goal in eight games and give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
Grzelcyk (11) and Coyle (14) tallied the assists on Heinen’s goal at 8:21 of the second period and Boston led, 2-0.
But less than a minute later the Bruins found themselves shorthanded yet again as Carlo tripped Arvidsson at 9:01– resulting in a 5-on-4 advantage for Nashville.
Things escalated to a 5-on-3 power play for the Predators after Grzelcyk caught Craig Smith with a high stick at 10:28.
A short, 33-second, two-skater advantage would be followed by an abbreviated standard power play, but the Preds didn’t need that long to connect on the 5-on-3 advantage.
A bang-band play led to Filip Forsberg (15) rocketing the puck behind Rask with assists from Duchene (20) and Roman Josi (31).
With the secondary assist on Forsberg’s power play goal, Josi extended his scoring streak to 11-games and Nashville cut Boston’ lead in half, 2-1, at 10:54 of the second period.
The B’s escaped the remainder of the penalty kill unharmed.
Late in the middle frame, Nashville lost track of basic numbers and had too many skaters on the ice at 16:29.
Kyle Turris took the long skate across the ice to serve the bench minor infraction and the Bruins capitalized on their first power play of the night.
Patrice Bergeron (18) followed up on a second-effort and sent a shot over Rinne’s blocker to once again give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
DeBrusk (10) and Marchand (41) had the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal and Boston led, 3-1, at 17:42.
Through 40 minutes of play in Nashville, the Bruins (and their moms– as it was Boston’s moms trip) led the Preds, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 26-24, in shots on goal despite trailing in the second period shots on net alone– 16-13.
Boston also maintained the advantage in blocked shots (9-2), takeaways (5-4) and faceoff win% (51-49).
Nashville led in giveaways (5-3) and hits (13-6).
The Predators were 1/4 on the skater advantage, while the B’s were a perfect 1/1 on the power play heading into the final frame of regulation.
Wagner (4) kicked off the third period with a quick goal as he unintentionally redirected a shot after he was pushed by a Predators defender into Rinne at 2:51.
Lindholm (1) and Krug (24) notched the assists on Wagner’s goal and the Bruins extended their lead, 4-1.
Almost a minute later, Grimaldi tripped Chara and was assessed a minor infraction at 3:52 of the third period.
Boston’s ensuing power play was not successful.
Midway through the third period, Yakov Trenin tried to engage Chara in a fight and got the Bruins captain to exchange fisticuffs at 11:40.
Chara received an extra minor for roughing while both received majors for fighting and thus the Predators were headed on the power play after just the 8th fight this season for Boston– and 3rd in a row for their captain.
Four seconds later, Moore hooked Arvidsson and joined Ritchie (serving Chara’s roughing minor) and Chara in the box as the B’s faced Nashville’s 5-on-3 advantage at 11:44.
The Predators weren’t able to get anything done with the two-skater advantage and took a penalty of their own at 15:38 when Josi hooked Lindholm.
Shortly after Boston’s resulting power play expired, Coyle tripped Mikael Granlund at 17:46 and presented the Preds with their seventh power play opportunity of the night.
Just as the saying goes “the seventh time’s a charm”, the Predators managed to squib a puck through Rask and just over the line while chaos ensued in the crease at 18:06.
Granlund (7) notched the power play goal for Nashville and the Preds cut the lead back to, 4-2. Mattias Ekholm (19) and Forsberg (15) had the assists on Granlund’s goal.
With 1:07 remaining in the game, Hynes pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but things didn’t go quite as planned when Krejci (9) received the puck on a pass from Rask and fired the rubber biscuit into the empty goal frame about 170-feet away from where he was standing at 19:05.
Rask (1) picked up his first assist of the season and the only assist on Krejci’s empty net goal as Boston all but confirmed the win, 5-2.
It only took another 22 seconds for the Bruins to rub salt in the wounds of Smashville– adding one more tic-toc-goal from Coyle (8) at 19:27 as Boston pulled ahead to a four-goal lead with seconds remaining in the action.
Ritchie (4) and Heinen (10) were credited with the assists on Coyle’s goal and the B’s sealed the deal on a, 6-2, win in Nashville.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (36-35), blocked shots (15-6) and faceoff win% (56-44), while Nashville wrapped up the night with the advantage in giveaways (7-3) and hits (15-8).
The Predators wrapped up Tuesday night’s action 2/7 on the power play and the B’s finished the game 1/3 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins improved to 16-4-2 when leading after the first period, 14-0-5 when leading after two periods and 18-6-7 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.
Boston returns home to face the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday before venturing on the road to visit the New York Islanders on Jan. 11th, the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 13th and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 14th.