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Need to Know: Bruins at Predators

Boston seems to be finding its scoring touch

by Christopher Weyant @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The Bruins mustered one of their most spirited performances of the season in David Backes's return to St. Louis on Tuesday night. The Bruins jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead en route to a 5-3 victory.

The B's will attempt to build on their three-game point streak in Nashville on Thursday night. The contest will mark the first of two meetings this season between the Bruins and the Predators. Nashville won both matchups against the Bruins last season in regulation by scores of 3-2 and 2-0.

Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EST on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Here is what you need to know:

Offensive Spark

The Bruins (22-17-5, 49 points) exploded for five goals against the Blues on Tuesday. A majority of the game was played in the Bruins offensive zone, as they outshot the Blues 39-17.

Frank Vatrano, who played on a line with David Krejci and David Backes, registered a goal and an assist in 14:56 of ice time.

"We're getting scoring from everyone right now," said Vatrano. "It's always good to see when things are starting to click like that. I think if we keep doing that down the stretch, we can be a pretty dangerous team."

Video: Vatrano checks in from practice in Nashville

One of the few negatives from Tuesday's game came on the injury front. The B's lost defensemen Adam McQuaid and Colin Miller to injuries. Both are considered "day-to-day," according to Julien.

During media availability in Nashville on Wednesday, Julien said Miller is "very doubtful" to play in against the Predators because of a lower-body injury.

McQuaid stayed overnight in St. Louis after suffering an upper-body injury, but was going to join the team in Nashville. His status for Thursday's game is uncertain.

"He stayed overnight in St. Louis for precautionary reasons with one of our trainers," Julien said of McQuaid. "We're going to be cautious and continue to evaluate him before we make a decision on when or if he can play."

Should McQuaid and Miller miss tonight's game, John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow will likely skate on the blue line for the B's.

Opposing View

The Predators (18-16-7, 43 points) sit in fourth place in the Central Division, four points behind the St. Louis Blues. Nashville will be in search of its second straight victory after a 2-1 overtime win against Vancouver on Tuesday.

Old friend P.K. Subban, the electric defenseman who was traded from Montreal in the offseason for fellow blue liner Shea Weber, is on injured reserve with an upper-body. In 29 games, Subban has tallied seven goals and ten assists.

After Weber's departure from Nashville, the captainship was bestowed upon forward Mike Fisher. Fisher, a 16-year NHL veteran who is in his seventh season in Nashville, is having another solid season with 11 goals and 14 assists in 39 games.

Nashville head coach and Westfield State alumni Peter Laviolette will likely counter Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask with Pekka Rinne. Rinne, one of the NHL's best netminders, is having another fine season, posting a 15-11-6 record with a 2.42 goals against average and a save percentage of .919.

The Predators are 13th in scoring (2.76 goals per game) and 15th in goals allowed (2.63 per game).

Wait, There's More

  • Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara played 28:31 of ice time on Tuesday night, with the Black & Gold down two blue liners for a large chunk of the third period. Chara logged a plus-3 rating, while blocking a team-high five shots.
  • Brad Marchand scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season on Tuesday night, giving him five goals over this last three games.
  • Tonight will mark the 24th all-time meeting between the Bruins and the Predators. The B's hold a 12-6-1-4 record against Nashville, outscoring them 63-55.
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