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game recap

Bruins extend lead for second wild card from East

Keep race for third in Atlantic Division tight with win against Predators

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins extended their lead for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on Tuesday.

The Bruins (40-30-6) are three points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and four ahead of the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes in the wild-card race. Boston has six games remaining, and Tampa Bay, New York and Carolina each has seven.

Noel Acciari scored his first NHL goal, and Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and David Backes also scored for the Bruins, who are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division. Toronto, which has one game in hand on Boston, defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday.


WATCH: All Predators vs. Bruins highlights


The Predators (39-26-11) are one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division. St. Louis has one game in hand.

Tuukka Rask made 24 saves in his return to the Bruins net after he missed a 2-1 win at the New York Islanders on Saturday because of a lower-body injury. He was 0-4-0 with 15 goals-against in his previous four games.

"We needed it," Rask said. "Personally, I've lost four games, but I played a couple good games there and we just didn't get the bounces. But we kind of got on the winning habit there on Long Island, and me stepping in there I just wanted to make sure that I gave us a chance to win, and the guys did the rest. It was a great team effort, I think, because we blocked [24] shots, which is huge."

Pekka Rinne made 27 saves, and Craig Smith scored for the Predators, who had won four in a row.

"To be honest with you, I feel like we can elevate our game and be better than that," said Rinne, whose season-high five-game winning streak ended. "It was a playoff atmosphere, but I think playing-wise I think we can do a better job and I know we will."

Video: NSH@BOS: Chara earns 600th point on Bergeron's tally

Bergeron scored on the rebound of a Zdeno Chara shot at 2:28 of the first period to make it 1-0 Boston. 

Krejci, who was a game-time decision because of an upper-body injury, scored at 13:52 for a 2-0 Bruins lead. 

The Predators got within 2-1 on Smith's tip-in with 8:44 remaining in the third period. 

Acciari scored with 4:13 left for a 3-1 lead, and Backes made it 4-1 with an empty-net goal.


Goal of the game

Krejci took a return pass from David Pastrnak and beat Rinne from the right faceoff circle through the five-hole.

Video: NSH@BOS: Krejci scores off give-and-go with Pastrnak


Save of the game

Rask dove forward to knock down Ryan Johansen's wrist shot from the slot at 9:03 of the third period.


Highlight of the game

In his 43rd NHL game, Acciari scored with a one-timer from the slot after a pass on a 2-on-1 from Riley Nash.

Video: NSH@BOS: Acciari pots Nash's feed for first NHL goal


Unsung performance of the game

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid had five blocked shots, including two in eight seconds in the first period. McQuaid was getting up after blocking defenseman Roman Josi's shot at 10:58 when Josi's next shot hit him, at 11:06.


They said it

"You know, we made mistakes early on and gave them the lead. From there, we're chasing the game. I thought we got better as [the game] went on, but I thought they jumped us in the first." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette


"It feels pretty good. Couldn't have done it without a good D zone and Riley Nash with an unbelievable pass, so he left me with the easy part there." -- Bruins forward Noel Acciari on scoring his first NHL goal


"He really worked hard to find pucks in traffic. They created some good opportunities, and even the goal against, he found it. They just tipped it at eye level, so it was going to be a tough one, and we need to be better in the shooting lane on that one. But I thought he was terrific, very pleased with his performance." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on goaltender Tuukka Rask


Need to know

Chara got the 600th point of his NHL career with an assist on Bergeron's goal.


What's next

Predators: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, TSN4, NHL.TV)

Bruins: Host the Dallas Stars on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)


Video: Chara notches 600th career point in Bruins' win

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