The Boston Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday night as they took advantage of a Nashville Predators team changing on the fly and played one of their best games in the last month, beating the Predators 6-2.
Danton Heinen scored what proved to be the game-winner at 8:21 of the second period and added an assist while Charlie Coyle also lit the lamp and added a helper. Bruins forwards David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Wagner, and David Krejci all found the back of the net, while defenseman Matt Grzelcyk finished with two assists.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 33 saves, including 14 in the middle frame as the Predators controlled the play through the middle of the period.
The Predators went on the powerplay seven times and did convert two on goals by Filip Forsberg – a five-on-three in the second period – and Mikail Granlund, but the Bruins answered both stemming any momentum Nashville was starting to gain.
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne finished with 30 saves on 35 shots.
The Bruins finally awoke from a month of subpar hockey and matched a team in flux but also one potentially getting a charge after general manager David Poile fired head coach Peter Laviolette Monday night and replaced him with former New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes Tuesday morning. Brad Marchand immediately tried to raise the temperature 14 ticks into regulation giving a, ahem. …nudge to Viktor Arvidsson and while Marchand went to the sin-bin for cross-checking, Arvidsson went for embellishment evening things off as he got caught for the sell-job.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, the Bruins used their speed to capitalize on a depleted Predators defense missing Ryan Ellis, one of their best defensemen. Pastrnak took a feed from Charlie McAvoy through the neutral zone, bolted down the wing and ripped one high far-side on Rinne for a 1-0 Bruins lead and his 32nd of the season 1:36 into regulation. Matt Grzelcyk had the secondary assist and it was clear the Bruins had come to play.
The Bruins killed off a Sean Kuraly penalty 6:10 into the period and after that, the teams traded chances and hits as the Bruins took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The Predators appeared to have tied the game 1:02 into the second period as the referees originally ruled that McAvoy had dislodged the net on purpose to avoid a Predators goal but then reversed their ruling, saying McAvoy was interfered with by Predators forward Rocco Grimaldi. The Predators seemed stunned and the Bruins capitalized.
Heinen snapped a seven-game scoreless streak at 8:21 of the middle frame, taking a Gryzelcyk feed on the fly and beating Rinne for a 2-0 Bruins lead. Coyle had the secondary assist.
Midway through the period, the Bruins found themselves killing off a 5-on-3 and Forsberg made them pay with a powerplay tally from Matt Duschene and Roman Josi at 10:54. The Bruins answered right back though as they capitalized on a too-many-men-on-thei-ice call against the Predators at 16:29. Bergeron banged home his 18th of the season from Jake Debrusk and Marchand and the Bruins had padded the lead again.
The Bruins continued to get some much-need secondary scoring as Wagner made it 4-1 2:51 into the third period. Par Lindholm and Torey Krug got the helpers.
Midway through the third period, with the Predators clearly seeking a spark, Nashville forward Yakov Trenin came in high and a tad bit late on McAvoy behind the Bruins net and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took exception, grabbing Trenin and going toe-to-toe with him. Trenin got in a good shot but Chara got the takedown. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Chara got two extra for roughing at 11:40 of the third period and with a John Moore penalty just four seconds later were down five-on-three again.
The B’s were able to kill this one off though and held a 4-1 lead until the Preds connected on another powerplay goal late in the period. Coyle went off for hooking at 17:46 and Granlund made it 4-2 Bruins with just 1:54 left.
The Bruins squashed any hope of a comeback though scoring two goals in the final minute as Krejci scored an empty-netter at 19:05 for his ninth of the season and Coyle buried one past an out of position Rinne at 19:27. Brett Ritchie and Heinen got the helpers.