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Preview: Boston Bruins at Nashville Predators

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The B’s are slowly working their way to healthy, and hope to set a different tone before the holiday break.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers
A short concussion scare in Saturday’s game for Brad couldn’t stop him from getting even on the scoreboard.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Just The Facts:

What: The Boston Bruins (12-8-4, 28pts, 4th in ATL) visit the Nashville Predators (16-7-3, 35pts, 3rd in CEN)

When: 8:00 PM ET

Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Why do you care: Boston has been stringing together wins lately; Nashville has leveled out a bit, but is still scoringly dangerous.

Where to watch: TVAS, SN, FS-TN, NESN

Where to listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Preview

Despite the probably-infuriating loss to Vancouver last week, the Predators have more or less maintained their good start to this year, having strung together 4- and 5-game win streaks over the last month or so.

Boston, meanwhile, stumbled out of the gate and was forced to deal with a seemingly never-ending revolving door to the infirmary. Now, some important players are working back into the lineup - Ryan Spooner, David Backes, and a handful of others - and the Bruins look to build another win streak of their own.

The tone of this game will be set by each team’s center depth - while Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Riley Nash offer the Bruins some consistency down the middle, Nashville counters with Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino. Turris is the new arrival from Ottawa, and has nearly doubled his point total since joining the Preds; while he’s not their top pivot, he’s going to make Krejci’s job that much more difficult.

Players to Watch:

  • Post-injury, Brad Marchand has been getting very involved. Look for him to continue building his way back into peak form.
  • Bradley’s Best Bud P.K. Subban will be on the ice, so keep an eye on him to get under the winger’s skin. Or, vice versa, whatever.
  • My gut tells me that this game will be extra physical, so watch for the B’s fourth line (Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari) to bring some extra energy at Bruce’s urging.
  • Riley Nash takes the body AND plays the puck - and is rewarded for it with points. He’s doing a yeoman’s job in plugging the holes at center. <- This was left over from my last recap (LAK, Nov. 16) and I’m just going to leave it there because it’s still true.
  • Pekka Rinne has been playing like his vintage self lately, with four outings over .930 SV% and just one loss in his last five games. Goalie duel, COMMENCE.
  • Nashville’s defensive depth is looking a little thin and delicate, with noted turtle Alexei Emelin on the second pairing and former Bruin Matt Irwin (who played all of 2 games for Boston in 2015-2016) rounding out the bottom pair.

NEVER 4GET:

Chuck and Jake notch their career firsts in the season openah: