NASHVILLE - The Bruins entered Thursday night's matchup in Nashville looking to close out a strong road trip with a victory over the Predators.
They had already picked up five of a possible six points along the way through Florida, Carolina and St. Louis. Another two points would certainly cap off the trip, and send them home happy.
The Black & Gold put forth a strong effort, but did not end up with the result, falling 2-1 at Bridgestone Arena.
"If we had seven points, that's a solid road trip there and I think it was very attainable, so its disappointing to not come back up with the last two and obviously go home on that note," said Torey Krug, who scored the Bruins' lone goal.
"But we've got to continue to work on our game and make sure we capture the next two points at home."
The Bruins played the final 47 minutes of the game without their starting goaltender.
With 7:11 to go in the first period, Tuukka Rask took a slap shot from Roman Josi up high, underneath his mask. He immediately went down and quickly pulled his helmet off, while Bruins Trainer Don DelNegro rushed out to tend to him.
David Krejci, David Backes, Frank Vatrano, Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara were all huddled around Rask's crease as he took his time to get up and skate over to the bench and head down the tunnel. Josi gave him a stick tap of support as he made his way off.
It appeared that Rask may have not seen the shot's exact angle, because Nashville's Viktor Arvidsson provided a drive-by screen with Carlo tying him up.
"You guys saw he got the shot there in the throat area," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters postgame. "[Was] evaluated, wasn't well enough to come back and we'll see moving forward how he does."
Video: BOS@NSH: Rask leaves game early with injury
Zane McIntyre slotted in for Rask, stopped 14 of 16 shots. Rask made three saves while in goal.
"I was just trying to be prepared throughout the week, throughout our games and practices, whenever I got a chance to get in there, and obviously you don't want to see that ever happen," said McIntyre. "So I just tried to be prepared and just do my job, do my part."
The Bruins had Adam McQuaid back for the matchup. He had left Tuesday night's game in St. Louis with an upper-body injury after taking the brunt of an awkward hit, and stayed overnight before joining the team on Wednesday in Nashville. He was cleared for game action.
"You don't take a hit like that and not feel it a bit, but it's just like anybody else," McQuaid had said pregame. "We all play through different things and stuff - they said I'm cleared medically and able to go, so no reason not to feel good about it."
The defenseman didn't shy away from getting right back in the mix. The Black & Gold benefited from his physicality.
The Bruins found themselves down 1-0 at 1:02 into the second period after Austin Watson's unassisted goal on McIntyre.
A few minutes later, McQuaid dropped the gloves with Derek Grant in a lengthy bout, with plenty of punches thrown.
"He was fine, and he displayed that," said Julien. "He came in and played the game the way we know he plays it and stood tall for our team when he was being challenged, and I thought for our team, it was a good boost as well."
Later in the period, Ryan Johansen was sent to the box for hooking Zdeno Chara.
Krug struck on the power play to make it 1-1 at 8:08 into the second. The goal gave Krug goals in back-to-back games, following up his power-play goal on Tuesday night in St. Louis.
Krug blocked down a clearing attempt and fired it in through traffic past Preds netminder Juuse Saros. Prior to St. Louis, Krug had gone 29 games without a goal.
Video: BOS@NSH: Krug rings power-play goal off the post
"I'd feel a lot better if we win, obviously," said Krug. "I've been playing the same way, whether it's the puck going in directly myself or my teammates tipping it in like they have so far this season, I approach the game the same way. But it's nice to help the team."
Towards the end of the second period, the Bruins found themselves backpedaling in their own zone for a few shifts, with McIntyre putting forth strong saves.
But with 2:24 left in the frame, Filip Forsberg used his speed and skill to edge out Brandon Carlo in a race for the puck and get it through McIntyre for the 2-1 lead.
The Bruins ran into strong netminding from the Predators' young goaltender, Juuse Saros, who made 35 saves on 36 shots.
"I think we deserved better," said Julien. "I think our guys competed hard, and definitely thought we played well enough to win this hockey game and ran into a hot goaltender, a goaltender who was outstanding tonight."
"We couldn't seem to get that next goal past him."
The Bruins outshot the Predators 36-19 overall and 13-4 in the third period, but could not find a way past Saros. Chance after chance, Saros was there, like when he held tight to a David Pastrnak one-timer with 47.7 on the clock.
Krug blocked away empty-netter attempts until the final buzzer.
"I think overall we played well, but at this point in the season, we're kind of sick of moral victories," Krug said bluntly. "And we want to get results, and I think it's one that we definitely should have had."
"We had lots of chances, we played hard and did a lot of good things, so the direction we're going, if we keep playing like that, we're going to win a lot more than we're going to lose," said Julien.
Video: Julien, B's discuss 2-1 loss to Nashville