GOLD STAR: Craig Smith and his linemates Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala were unstoppable in the early portion of the game as they jumped on Bruins mistakes, and scored early and often to build a four-goal lead the B’s couldn’t quite overcome. Smith scored on a rebound goal to open the offense for both sides, and then once again attacked with speed while taking advantage of mistakes in the defensive zone for his second goal of the night. Smith finished with two goals, three points and a plus-2 rating in 14:51 of ice time with seven shot attempts, and did just enough in the early going to push the Predators to the eventual victory.
BLACK EYE: The numbers didn’t look horrible for Torey Krug when the game was finally over, but he made enough mistakes in the first period to last for an entire game. Krug lost track of Smith as he was crashing to the net on the first goal of the game, and he left his position to triple team the guy with the puck leaving Smith wide open for Nashville’s second goal. He had a turnover that led to a breakaway chance for Kyle Turris in the first period as well, but Anton Khudobin was able to bail him on that one. Krug stabilized his game after that and finished at just a minus-1 in 20:53 of ice time with seven shot attempts for the Bruins, but there were too many mistakes for Krug and the Bruins in the first period.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins closed it to a one-goal game in the third period, and it appeared they were going to overtake the Predators with momentum on their side. But the Predators followed with another counter-punch goal after taking a timeout, and Fillip Forsberg was able to get behind Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy for a breakaway score that iced the game for the Predators. The Bruins didn’t score another goal after that and their momentum was effectively stymied by the one big, final goal on another self-inflicted wound.
HONORABLE MENTION: Pekka Rinne gave up three goals to the Bruins, but he also made 37 saves and made the big stops when he needed to in order to secure the win for Boston. Rinne made a huge stop on the first shift of the game when David Pastrnak went through his own legs in the crease for a scoring attempt, and allowed the Predators some time to find their legs before they scored the first four goals of the game. The Bruins made their push in the second and third periods, but Rinne continued to stay calm between the pipes and made 14 saves in the final period while never relinquishing the lead for the Predators.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – The number of games that Anton Khudobin had won in a row prior to dropping Monday night’s game in Nashville, and the number of goals given up by the Bruins netminder before he was pulled from the game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Digging yourself a 4-0 deficit is certainly not a good recipe for winning games. The second half of the game was much better, but it was too little, too late. We need to start on time. It took us halfway through to finally get into [the game they wanted].” – David Backes, on falling way behind a red-hot Nashville team in a deficit they couldn’t overcome.