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 still not believing what I saw in last night’s Patriots/Steelers game. Boy, has Tom Brady been a treat to watch over the course of his career.
*Pro Hockey Talk asks if Alex Ovechkin is clutch. Why do I feel like this could develop into an “Is Joe Flacco Elite?” level of debate?
*Nashville D-man (it still feels weird writing that) PK Subban is planning to use his creativity to help grow the game of hockey that he loves so very much.
*Erik Karlsson is getting to the top of his game at a rather appropriate time as trade rumors start to swirl with him along with a massive price tag on his next contract. The question is this: Who has the prospects and the cap room to make a move for Karlsson work, and what would they have to give up to the Sens in order to get him? Multiple blue chip prospects, first round pick and an established, All-Star-level player would be my starting point.
*Speaking of the Ottawa Senators, Vice Sports says that the Senators fan base deserves a better owner than Eugene Melnyk.
*Ryan Reaves and Kris Letang headline a list of five big questions facing the Pittsburgh Penguins through the rest of the season.
*For something completely different: A Spoiler-rific take on the Last Jedi, and the kind of things the next movie must do in order to make this movie more palatable to the hard-core fan base.
BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins have enjoyed a lot of down time over the first two months of the NHL regular season, but that’s beginning to change now as they enter the holiday season. Sure they will get the three-day break around the Christmas holiday just like everybody else around the NHL, but they’re heading into that three-day respite with a schedule of seven games in 11 days, including back-to-back games Columbus and Buffalo kicking off tonight at TD Garden.
It’s good that this kind of busy sequence didn’t come down when the B’s were injury ravaged over the first few months of the season, but there’s never an easy time to play four 60-minute effort games in a span of six days, including a short rest matinee on Saturday vs. the Red Wings.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will undoubtedly roll lines a little more liberally and probably rotate some players into his lineup, but he’s going with the same forwards and D-men in front of Tuukka Rask on Monday night vs. the Blue Jackets. The Bruins are doing what they can during a dense portion of the schedule, and making certain they’re ready to give their best after dropping back-to-back games against the Capitals and Rangers last week.
“You just need to make it easy on ourselves by not playing a hard game, and not doing damage to ourselves to make things more difficult,” said Brad Marchand. “You take care of the puck and keep it simple, and then whenever you get a day off you need to rest up and recover. That’s all you can really do.”
So Rask will get the nod with Anton Khudobin likely to start against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, and the lineup will be exactly the same as vs. the Rangers with Anders Bjork sitting for the second game in a row: