Your Boston Bruins traveled to Nashville tonight to take on the Predators at the Bridgestone Arena. It seemed like a home game with all the Black and Gold Faithful in the building and those road-trippers were rewarded with a 2-0 Boston victory. The Bruins get the 2 points and are now only 3 points behind idle Detroit with 4 games in hand still.
Rookie sensation and
expected favorite for Calder/Norris candidate dual winner Jeremy Swayman was in net for the B’s while Juuse Saros manned the pipes for the Preds. On the Bruins bench it was once again Joe Sacco as Bruce Cassidy is still in the NHL’s Covid protocol. And if that wasn’t enough, his leading scorer was serving game 2 of 3 for his slew foot suspension. Taylor Hall was back with David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron on the top line, but it was Charlie Coyle, Craig Smith and Erik Haula who got the start tonight. It was Smitty’s first game back in Nashville since he signed with the Bruins and the B’s gave him the “A” to mark the occasion. Smith is still the 6th leading scorer all time for the Preds, putting up a stat line of 162-168-330 in 661 games. He also boasted a +67 with 264PIM over 9 seasons, but he sure looks better in the spoked B. Nashville played a nice tribute to him during the first TV timeout. This was also Haula’s return to NSH, but he only played the one season so sorry, no video for #56. Trent Frederic centered the 3rd line between Nick Foligno and Karson Kuhlman while Tomas Nosek was the pivot on the 4th with Curtis Lazar and Jake DeBrusk.
The Bruins carried the play in the opening period and were able to get on the board first thanks to the power play. In the closing seconds of the man advantage, DeBrusk was out with PP2 and beat Saros over the blocker for the eventual game winner. Coyle found DeBrusk at the top of the LW circle and he went short side high with the wrister to give the B’s the lead. During that power play the Black and Gold Faithful made their voices heard for the first time as you could clearly hear the familiar refrains of “Let’s Go Bruins” over the game feed.
Just 30 seconds into the 2nd period and the Bruins doubled up on the score. Coyle won a board battle, can I digress a moment? For all the people on Coyle about his points and how he’s not Krejci: can you please watch a fucking game with someone who knows hockey? Coyle is a possession beast and is an absolute monster on the puck. If you don’t think he’s a valued member of this team then you’re a pink hat muppet. Anywho.. back to the goal: Coyle won the board battle and fed the puck to Haula at the top of the LW dot where he was back in coverage. Haula pivoted around to protect the puck and dished a backhand to Brandon Carlo coming over the blue line, Carlo gathered in the puck and let loose a snap shot that beat Saros 5-hole. What a great play all around: Coyle’s work on the wall, then Haula in support with puck protection and then Carlo with the perfect time to pinch and looking to shoot.
Nashville had the late push in the period but the Bruins withstood the pressure and kept the Preds on the perimeter in the Bruins zone. Jakob Zboril (who’s arguably playing the best hockey of his NHL career) took an awkward fall into the boards and had to be helped off the ice. The Bruins are calling it a LBI, but it looked as if he hit his knee on the boards and then twisted it on the way down. After watching him being helped off the ice while putting no weight on his right leg, it was not a surprise when the B’s announced he would not be returning to the game.
In the third, the Bruins continued to dominate play, but the Preds were getting their chances, especially in the end of the period. Swayman looked dominant, he was tracking the puck exceptionally well and had good control of his rebounds. He was squared up on his angles and came out a number of times to challenge shooters. Tonight was his first shutout of the season and also his career high in saves. No matter what NSH threw at him at the end of the game, he looked calm and not flustered. He was smart when he chose to freeze the puck and didn’t panic during the goalmouth scrambles, including the late whacks from NSH. All in all it was an excellent game from the young netminder.
The Bruins head home for a matchup with Tampa Bay on Saturday.
It’s true… Sway is the way. Play the music.
- Erik Haula certainly seems to have benefited from his healthy scratch. He’s also been very honest and up front with the media and accepted responsibility for his health bomb. Now if only everyone handled adversity like that.
- Jeremy Swayman is an absolute stud
- The Preds clearly had an agenda to target Patrice Bergeron tonight. I don’t know if they’ve ever seen Bergy get mad. You don’t want to make him angry, just ask Vancouver. I did love Homeboy Jack lamenting that if Bergy gets a matching penalty with anyone in the NHL that’s a win for the opposing team. Love him for his unabashed homerism.
- The Jakob Zboril injury sucks. He’s playing great, and I know Conor Clifton is available to hop right in there, but you hate to see anyone go down like that.
- I would have liked to see some more defense of Bergy. I’m not saying he needs the help from anyone, but you telling me that no one on the ice can get in there?
- Filip Forsberg has a sick mustache, but he’s kind of a puke on the ice, no?
- This game could have been waaaaay more lopsided. The Bruins hit 4 posts flush tonight including one on an empty net
- Tonight was Taylor Hall’s 700th NHL game
- Does anyone have more fun than David Pastrnak? What a beauty.
As always, feel free to disagree with me and let me hear it: if you have the stones… @abrow28