NASHVILLE – It would have been quite a statement if the Boston Bruins could have taken one from a red-hot Predators group on home ice where they barely ever lose.
Alas, the Bruins didn’t get there despite showing some character in a highly entertaining game they eventually dropped by a score 5-3 to Nashville after a furious third-period comeback at Bridgestone Arena.
The Bruins got a quick chance on the opening shift when David Pastrnak found himself all alone in front with the puck, but Pekka Rinne somehow got a glove on Pastrnak’s bid after the winger went through his own legs before shooting.
After that, it was the Predators taking advantage of some shaky rebound control from Anton Khudobin, and some poor defensive zone play from Torey Krug. A big Khudobin rebound went straight to Craig Smith for Nashville’s first goal of the game, and then Smith scored again with just 18 seconds to go in the first after three Bruins players, including Krug, converged on the puck carrier in the defensive zone.
Nick Bonino scored on a loose puck in front in the second period, and then Kevin Fiala threw a wicked move on Zdeno Chara that twisted him all around before he threw a shot past Khudobin for Nashville’s fourth goal of the game. Khudobin was pulled from the game after that in favor of Tuukka Rask, who was playing in his fourth straight game after being benched for the previous four games in favor of his backup.
The Bruins scratched for a power play strike after that in the second period with Danton Heinen and Charlie McAvoy connecting for the Bruins defenseman’s fourth goal of the season. In the third they added another on a knuckling, bouncing point from Zdeno Chara that closed it to within two goals with 15 minutes to play.
David Pastrnak scored his 14th goal of the season shortly after that to close things to within a goal in the third period, but another defensive breakdown allowed Fillip Forsberg behind Boston’s top defensive pair for a breakaway score on Rask that iced things for Nashville.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.
*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.
*What a great piece on the Stoneman Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.
*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.
*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.
*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is returning from injury ahead of the playoffs.
*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.
Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.
MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues
The Bruins currently sit four points behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.
If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.