The Nightmare Before Christmas: Predators at Bruins

by Ed Neely

The Nashville Predators (22-12-2, 46 pts) went into the TD Garden on Saturday afternoon to take on the surging Boston Bruins (19-12-4, 42 pts) in a matinée matchup.  Both teams have been bitten by the injury bug in the first half of this season, but the Preds have not fared as well while injured, losing their last nine (0-7-2) on the road and their last three games straight.

The Preds currently have four key players on the Injured Reserve with Subban, Arvidsson, Forsberg and Sissons out of the lineup at the moment.  The good news is that Viktor Arvidsson and PK Subban both took part in the optional practice on Friday which signals their eminent return.

The game started out with the Preds on the ropes for the majority of the first period.  Pekka Rinne faced multiple sets of rapid fire high danger chances by the Bruins and was able to turn back all but one, a shot by Bergeron in which Roman Josi was checked into Rinne who was then taken out of the play.

The second period was tilted more in the Preds’ favor after the Bruins had a goal overturned on a challenge for Goaltender Interference.  The Predators tied it up at 13:01 on a shot by Ryan Johansen that came off a nice pass from Craig Smith.  The Preds were able to manage far more shots on net than the Bruins in the second and were rewarded for their efforts, but the period ended with two Nashville players, Johansen and Ekholm, in the box going into the third.

The Start of the third period saw the Predators attempting to kill a 5-3 and they were successful until the last 16 seconds of the penalty when Bergeron netted his second of the game.  Kyle Turris tied the game back up just before halfway through the final frame, with a nice shot from the top of the right circle and in to the far side of the net.  The Preds’ injuries finally took their toll and the Bruins put up another powerplay goal by the Rat, Brad Marchand, and an even strength goal by David Pastrnak before finally slamming the door with an empty net goal by Sean Kuraly at the 18:01 mark.

The Predators are off until after Christmas and will hit the ice in Smashville against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 27th.  This will give a bit more time to heal up and hopefully see the return of Arvi and Subban.  Hopefully they will be able to exorcize the ghosts of this Chrismas past and get back to their old winning ways.

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