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Preds need points from rare meeting with Bruins

by Dave Lozo
BRUINS (39-21-9) at PREDATORS (35-25-10)


Last 10 --
Boston 6-2-2; Nashville 4-4-2

Season series -- This is the only meeting of the season between the teams. The Bruins haven't won in Nashville since March 2004, but have only made two trips to Tennessee since that victory.

Big story -- The Bruins are 1-2-2 in their last five and have gone from a team on the cusp taking over the Eastern Conference lead to one now looking to hang on to the lead in the Northeast Division. The Predators are fighting for their playoff lives, sitting in ninth place in the West. But just a four-game winning streak could vault them into a top-four spot in the conference.

Team scope:

Bruins -- After a 6-0 road trip and a seven-game winning streak, comparisons were being made to the Bruins' last championship in 1972. Recent struggles have cooled that talk, but the Bruins are coming off a much-needed 3-2 shootout win in Columbus on Tuesday.

Rich Peverley scored a shorthanded goal with 5:33 remaining in regulation to tie it, and Tuukka Rask stopped 34 shots and all three shootout attempts to end a four-game slide.

"Definitely, it was one of his biggest and best games of the year," coach Claude Julien said of Rask. "He was very poised and I thought he did a great job in the shootout."

Predators -- They have games in hand and are just one point out of a playoff spot in the West, but Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings didn't help matters.

Pekka Rinne, making his 18th straight start, allowed three goals on 17 shots.
"Every game is the most important game right now," coach Barry Trotz said. "We're still in a pretty good position. Obviously as a team we want to get points or limit their points. … If things fall correctly, we're exactly where we might be starting today with just one less game."

Who's hot -- Bruins center David Krejci has points in 11 of his last 12 games (3 goals, 13 assists). … Predators forward Martin Erat has 3 goals and 6 assists in his last six games.

Injury report -- The Bruins aren't dealing with any new injuries right now. … Nashville is without Steve Sullivan (lower body), Marcel Goc (shoulder), Francis Bouillon (upper body), Cal O'Reilly (broken fibula), and Matthew Lombardi (concussion). 

Stat pack --
Boston's Mark Recchi, the active leader in games, assists and points, moved past Dave Andreychuk into fifth place on the NHL's all-time games played list. The 43-year-old is fifth on the Bruins in scoring with 12 goals and 31 assists in 69 games. … The Preds are just 3-for-30 on the power play in their last 11 games.

Puck drop -- Julien assessed the Bruins by saying: "We are still not out of the woods yet. We're not skating. We're taking that extra second with the puck, and that's costing us. Most of all, I think it's a lack of confidence."

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