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Bruins defeat Predators in season opener

DeBrusk, McAvoy each score first NHL goal for Boston

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins knew they were going to lean on some rookies, they just didn't know they would do so as quickly as the season opener.

Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy and Anders Bjork combined for five points in a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on Thursday.

DeBrusk broke a 1-1 tie with his first NHL goal at 5:48 of the second period and had an assist. McAvoy, who played six games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, scored his first NHL goal in his regular-season debut at 15:43 to make it 3-1. Bjork had an assist on DeBrusk's goal.

 

[WATCH: All Predators vs. Bruins highlights]

 

"It's awesome for the three of us to kind of get that out of the way and now you can roll," McAvoy, a defenseman, said. "Points aren't everything, that's for sure, but for offensive guys like Jake and Anders and myself, I try to contribute, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to try and get that zero out of the point column. We came out of the gate pretty hot there and I'm very happy for Jake, very happy for Anders to get their first points. I'm just thrilled that we were able to walk out [of] there with two points."

The Bruins played without injured center Patrice Bergeron (lower body) and forward David Backes (diverticulitis).

The Predators trailed 4-1 late in the third period. Scott Hartnell made it 4-2 at 18:12 with a 6-on-3 goal with goaltender Pekka Rinne on the bench for an extra attacker and two Bruins in the penalty box. Filip Forsberg scored a 6-on-4 goal with 35 seconds remaining to make it 4-3.

Video: NSH@BOS: McAvoy earns first point on Pastrnak's PPG

Despite the rally, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette wasn't impressed.

"It's a good look in the mirror, I think," Laviolette said. "A good look in the mirror."

David Pastrnak gave Boston a 1-0 lead during a 5-on-3 with a one-timer at 8:37 of the first period after a pass from McAvoy. Nashville tied it 1-1 when Viktor Arvidsson's wrist shot beat Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask high to the glove side with 11 seconds left.

DeBrusk and McAvoy gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead, and Brad Marchand scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal into an empty net for a 4-1 lead with 2:53 left in the third period.

Video: NSH@BOS: Forsberg banks puck in off Rask for PPG

 

Goal of the game 

McAvoy beat Rinne with a wrist shot from the high slot after getting center David Krejci's pass that might've been intended for left wing Bjork, who might've had an open net for a one-timer.

"I skated as fast as I could up the ice there ... I wasn't really sure that he was there," McAvoy said. "I was pretty much just consumed with trying to make something happen."

Video: NSH@BOS: McAvoy strikes in slot for first career goal

 

Save of the game 

With the Bruins clinging to a one-goal lead, Rask made a pad save on a backhand by P.K. Subban from in tight with two seconds remaining.

 

Highlight of the game 

DeBrusk drove to the net and beat Rinne with a backhand-to-forehand move and a shot that went inside the crossbar.

"It's surreal. It's one that I'll never forget, that's for sure," DeBrusk, a left wing, said. "A little bit of a blur for a moment. Just trying to make a quick move, it went in and the crowd got pretty loud."

The goal brought his father, former NHL player Louie DeBrusk, to tears.

"He was always a tough guy, but I heard that there were some tears coming from him," the younger DeBrusk said. "It was a very emotional time, but I'll be chirping him for a couple years to come, that's for sure."

Video: NSH@BOS: DeBrusk scores in NHL debut, dad tears up

 

They said it 

"They outworked us, and obviously that's the key, especially in the beginning of the season, when you're finding your groove and finding the chemistry with your teammates." -- Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne

"There was no hesitation, which is very encouraging and great to see. Sometimes you see that there's excitement and energy but they might have a little hesitation about whether they should or shouldn't go to that spot or forecheck or you name it. ... Everyone was on the same page." -- Bruins captain Zdeno Chara about the rookies fitting in 

Video: NSH@BOS: Rinne stops Schaller, gets some help

 

Need to know

During penalty kills in the first period, Subban, a defenseman, was forced to take two face-offs. He lost each of them. ... Krejci had an NHL career-high three assists for the ninth time. ... DeBrusk became the first Bruins player to score in his first NHL game since Frank Vatrano on Nov. 7, 2015. ... Bruins forward Noel Acciari sustained an upper-body injury blocking a shot in the first period and did not return. ... Backes is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. ... McAvoy became the ninth Bruins player to make his NHL regular-season debut after his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

 

What's next

Predators: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, ATTSN-PT, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Bruins: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday (1 p.m. ET; SN1, NESN, ALT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Youth powers Bruins past Predators in 4-3 win

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