Nashville Predators at Boston Bruins
4-3, Bruins (SO)
Goals: Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Shea Weber (Nashville), Daniel Paille (Boston), Patric Hornqvist (Nashville), Mike Fisher (Nashville), Milan Lucic (Boston), plus Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron (Boston) in the shootout
Goalies: Tim Thomas (19/22, .864%, plus two shootout saves), Pekka Rinne (38/41, .927%, plus one shootout save)
Wow, what a start! (Also it was good to be back with the NESN gang. You don’t know how much you miss hearing Jack and Brick until you can’t!) There were three shots on goal in the very first shift. You could tell right from the drop that this team was going to try and try hard. After our last game, we needed that energizing effort.
Follow that up with the absolute beauty of a goal by Patrice Bergeron. This showed how well the “Bru-Tang Clan” can work together. Brad Marchand does some nifty work in setting up the play, getting the puck out from his zone and streaking down into Nashville’s, staying with it even after Pekka Rinne comes out to play it. (Rinne seemed unusually clumsy when playing the puck. Too bad we couldn’t take more advantage of that!) Then he sees Bergeron coming in and, instead of being selfish with the puck, he sends it over to his liney…boom! It’s such a beauty play. Click here for the video.
Interestingly, the second line became the first one. Here were the line combos, according to John Bishop: Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin, Lucic-Kelly-Peverley, Pouliot-Krejci-Caron, Paille-Campbell-Thornton. Even in the worst of times, it seems like the Bru-Tang Clan always puts in great effort, and for the time being, that consistent production should be rewarded. David Krejci especially has been worryingly low in producing lately. But then today’s big star was Milan Lucic, so maybe for him the demotion was inspirational?
After Daniel Paille‘s goal, where his celly looked like he was on a Slip and Slide because he was pushed by a Nashville d-man while he was scoring, there was some good Bruins energy going.
But Lucic, like I said, was the star. Once the Predators got a go-ahead goal late in the third, you could FEEL the mood deflate in the Garden. I have to admit that I was worried all this hard work would lead to no points gained. Lucic, though, took a shot from a Rich Peverley rebound during a Bruins power play while the Boston net was empty and buried it from a bad angle. This gave the team a chance to do good work in extra time. Fun fact: Lucic is now the league’s sole player to have both 20 goals and more than 100 penalty minutes to his name.
We also outshot Nashville basically two to one. The huge reason that the score wasn’t super lopsided in our favor is because Rinne was an absolute beast in net. There’s a reason he was nominated for the Vezina last season. (That is probably also a contributing factor in why Tim Thomas played today, instead of potentially matching Rinne with countryman Tuukka Rask.)
Thomas did well in the shootout, stopping all of Nashville’s efforts, meaning he has still only allowed one shootout goal this season. Tyler Seguin, who often fails to connect in the shootout, put one away. So did Bergeron and it was such a beauty.
It’s too bad we quite nearly lost after putting in such great effort. We should’ve been able to hold and build our lead, or at least try peppering Rinne even more. I still saw some defensive issues at times, so we’re not 100% out of the woods yet, but this was a much better effort than Wednesday.
Our power play overall still isn’t amazing–we allowed Nashville to clear the puck too often–but Lucic did rescue us on the power play, so it wasn’t all terrible.
I didn’t see too much ugly stuff today. This is a good thing.
vs. New York Rangers
I’m spending Valentine’s Day with 23 wonderful men! Let’s hope they give us a game worthy of love.