This game wasn’t entirely awful, but... it could’ve been worse?
REAL early, David Pastrnak had a beautiful dangle right in front of Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, but couldn’t elevate a between-the-legs circus shot. Moments later, the Bruins’ defense couldn’t clear the zone, letting up an early goal by Craig Smith off the B’s third clearing-attempt turnover in as many seconds.
Noted Brenemy Alexei Emelin laid a heavy hit on Marchand, and Zdeno Chara returned the favor with several hits on Emelin’s teammates in the early parts of the period. There was little offensive zone time for the B’s, however. David Backes felt left out of the fun and bowled through a rack of Predators.
Khudobin recovered well after letting in the early goal with several strong saves in quick succession, and then makes an absolutely incredible stop to end a 2-on-1, snuffing Roman Josi’s shot.
As the period progressed, the physicality escalated, and the B’s pressure waned with under 5 minutes to play; Charlie McAvoy nearly took Chara’s head off with a “pass”.
All that built-up momentum went quickly to waste, as Craig Smith stuck a fork in the period with a nifty conversion off a lob pass that made it by Danton Heinen, then through Torey Krug.
Craig Smith 2nd of night 2-0 Smashville pic.twitter.com/QSXbdYuz6E— HighLight Hockey (@HILITINGHOCKEY) December 5, 2017
I’m sure Fox Sports Tennessee went wild somewhere...
While the Bruins sulked to the locker room.
P.K. Subban had a golden chance in the slot, and he drop-passed it to nobody. The puck bounced the entire way up-ice and landed on Backes’ stick, and it’s too bad that luck didn’t carry through to his shot... and these both took place in the first minute of the second. This looked like it was going to be the Bruins’ period.
Two quick goals - one by Nick Bonino off an offensive-zone faceoff win and another unassisted beauty by Fiala - put Nashville up 4-0 before the fans in Nashville had settled back in for the second.
Tuukka Rask would take over for Anton Khudobin after their fourth goal. It was another several minutes before the Bruins could turn the tide again, and even when they were able to cross center-ice, it wasn’t clean. This made McAvoy’s goal a bit of a surprise - a pleasant one, at least. 4-1, Nashville.
The rest of the period actually bode well for the Bruins; with strong pressure from the Nouveau Merlot line providing for some offensive zone time; the frame ended with a few quick rushes by Bergeron’s line, followed by 20 seconds of hugging between teams.
The B’s energy took a few minutes to show, but when it did... hooo boy. A confidence-shaker by Zdeno Chara trickled by Rinne to bring the Bruins within two.
1:16 later, Pastrnak finished a great cycle play around the point to put a tie within reach.
Less than a minute later, however, Nashville would tack on another as Filip Forsberg converted on a breakaway to again put the Predators ahead by two. Boston’s strengthening play was countered well by Nashville and despite a few chances on the power play, the Bruins’ push was done and the game fizzled with more than a few minutes on the clock.
There are several horse pills to swallow with this loss. Giving up the first goal wasn’t nearly a backbreaker for Boston, but the goal with under 30 seconds remaining in the first was a demoralizer. Two goals to start the second rattled the bench and necessitated a goalie swap. When the puck started bouncing the B’s way and they drew to within reach of a tying goal, the defense couldn’t clamp down and gave a free chance to a point-per-game star. It’s one thing to have to take the bad with the good; it’s another to lean too far forward on the ice and fail to protect the puck when you’re already chasing the other team on the scoreboard.
The good to be taken out of the loss is that Coach Cassidy is able to motivate his players during unfortunate situations. Last night, the effort wasn’t enough to recover from a 4-goal deficit, but that kind of effort on a nightly basis will yield more wins in the near future. And, if the youths on the roster now can follow effort examples like David Backes’ monster shift late in the game, there is more hope to be had.
See you Thursday, Chowdaheads!