NASHVILLE – There were mistakes early and mistakes late in the Bruins' frenetic 5-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday night, but it was the early gaffes that spotted the Preds a four-goal lead that ultimately crushed the Black and Gold.
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Torey Krug has been better as of late after finishing November as a point-per-game player with an even plus/minus rating, but his first-period difficulties vs. Nashville were impossible to ignore.
Krug couldn’t do enough to neutralize Craig Smith crashing for a juicy Anton Khudobin rebound in the opening minutes. Krug then left his position to assist triple-teaming puck carrier Kevin Fiala before a wide-open Smith scored again for Nashville’s second score. It could have been even worse after a Krug turnover deep in the D-zone turned into a breakaway chance for Kyle Turris, but Khudobin was able to make the stop on that one in the first period.
Krug was a minus-2 after the opening period while alternating between trying to do too much or not enough in the D-zone and the Bruins were deep in a hole - a position that hasn’t portended good things for them this season.
“That’s what good teams do. [The Predators] capitalized on our mistakes. They made mistakes too, but we didn’t capitalize on enough of them,” said Krug, who is a team-worst minus-9 this season. That largely stems from the first month of the season while he played through a fractured jaw. “We take a lot of pride in battling back in situations like that. It’s about that and making sure that we have the starts that we usually, consistently have. We’d found a way to fix that part of our game, and maybe we need to go back and take a look at it before it slips away again.”
To his credit, Krug and the Bruins tightened things up and authored a furious third-period comeback before Boston’s top D-men pairing of Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy buckled for Fillip Forsberg's insurance goal. True to his nature, Krug kept fighting and finished the night as a minus-1 with seven shot attempts in 20:53 of ice time that didn’t read all that badly on the score sheet.
The bottom line, though, is that Nashville revealed some weaknesses to be exploited on Boston’s defense. That means Krug, McAvoy, Chara and the rest of the B’s back end needs to tighten things up before it becomes a trend.