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.
Bruins 3, Flames 1
Jake DeBrusk scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, as the Bruins complete a two-game sweep of Calgary in China. Click here for today's box score.
BRUINS EXHIBITION RECORD
EVAN TUUKKA RASK GOT INTO THE ACT
- SATURDAY: at Red Wings, 7 p.m.
- MONDAY: at Flyers, 7 p.m.
- WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 26: vs. Red Wings, 7 p.m.
GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk was all over the place in this game. He scored both of the goals ahead of Kevan Miller’s empty-netter late in the third period and was involved all over the ice while showing some pretty good chemistry with fellow young gun Ryan Donato. It was Donato who connected with DeBrusk for a nifty pass on the winger’s first goal and the two created several offensive chances throughout the game. Perhaps best of all, DeBrusk fought through some kind of stomach bug that kept him out for half of the second period and then scored the game-winner after returning in the third. Nobody would have faulted DeBrusk if he didn’t come back for the third of a preseason game, but he was almost instantly rewarded for his consistently strong commitment to the B’s. It’s early, but DeBrusk could be in line for some big things this season.
BLACK EYE: The entire team simply wasn’t good in the second period as Calgary dominated play against the Bruins, and controlled things pretty much from beginning to end. It actually looked like the B’s were going to get out of it thanks to some good work by Tuukka Rask, but then their bill came due at the end of the second period after a fruitless power play possession. The Bruins lost track of Sean Monahan coming out of the penalty box, and he was in all alone on a breakaway in the final seconds where he flipped one past a flopping Tuukka Rask trying to make a double-pad stack save. It left things tied 1-1 after 40 minutes of play and gave the Bruins their just desserts for not playing well at all in the middle 20 minutes.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins were closely clinging to a 2-1 lead for nearly all of the third period, and didn’t get their breathing room until Kevan Miller went with a rink-length empty net bid in the final minute of the third period. Once Miller put the finishing touches on the empty net score, the Bruins were in victory mode going 2-0 on their trip to China to play the Calgary Flames in a pair of exhibition games. Now, the Bruins get to spend the next day coming back to Boston and will get a couple more additional days off through the weekend to rest before going full bore with their entire team next week.
HONORABLE MENTION: Another young player impressing in the early going is Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, the rookie center vying for the third-line center position. JFK played a strong two-way game and looked good in a top-six role in both games in China and made a really strong play to set up Jake DeBrusk’s game-winner. JFK moved aggressively on the forecheck and took the puck away from Calgary goaltender Mike Smith, and then fed a quick pass to DeBrusk cutting to the front for a wide-open bid at the doorstep. DeBrusk cashed in on the game-winner and JFK finished with three assists in the two games against Calgary overseas. Both JFK and Trent Frederic have looked good in a competition for third line center.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4-0 – the Bruins record in the preseason thus far as they’ve outscored their opponents by a 12-7 margin. They may never lose in the preseason again.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's grown as a player...lots of pace to his game, finish in tight. He showed a lot of that the second half of last year. Good growth." –Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy to reporters in China talking about the progress of Jake DeBrusk after his two-goal game.