BRUINS (15-13-2) at PREDATORS (19-8-2)
TV: NESN, FS-TN
NASHVILLE -- The Boston Bruins will kick off a three-game road trip Tuesday against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Boston has struggled to come away with points lately, collecting three of a possible 12 points in its past six games. Boston is prepared for a tough game against a Nashville team that is 11-2-1 at home this season.
"I think we're in for a battle," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We expect a pretty good battle tonight. We're going to need an 'A' game from our group, which we keep asking for night after night. Hopefully we'll get the 'A' game and the results at the same time."
Julien is familiar with the type of game the Predators have been playing under coach Peter Laviolette this season after coaching against him while Laviolette was in Philadelphia. The fast start by the Predators doesn't surprise Julien.
"I've known Peter for a long time and how he coaches," Julien said. "It's just a different team and different players from what he's had in Philadelphia or Carolina. He coaches the same way. They're always a hard-working team. They compete hard and he gets a lot out of his team, especially in the early years. They really buy in to his stuff, so right now you're seeing them play some of their best hockey."
The Bruins have struggled to find consistency and will try to use this three-game road trip against Central Division teams as a launching pad for the rest of the season.
"We've got to come up with some points if we want to call it a success," Julien said. "It is about winning hockey games, and I think we should sense the urgency of it. That starts tonight."
Nashville lost 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday to close a three-game road trip with a 2-1-0 record. The Predators have yet to lose consecutive games this season and have done a good job of correcting mistakes that were made in a loss.
"I think realizing what our mistakes were and realizing that we just didn't have our legs that night," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "We weren't going, and when we're not going we're just an average team. We need everyone to be skating and playing the way we can, and hopefully tonight we can get that effort."
The Predators have the best defense in the League, allowing 1.93 goals against per game. That has been perhaps the biggest key to the fast start.
"I think it starts with Pekka [Rinne]," Ellis said. "Pekka has been really good for us, obviously up there as one of the top goalies in the League. He's a big reason why. I think our defense and even our forwards have been good in our own end, making strong plays and getting pucks in and out at key areas."
Here are the projected lineups:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Reilly Smith
Matt Fraser – Carl Soderberg – Loui Eriksson
Milan Lucic – Chris Kelly – Craig Cunningham
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Seth Griffith
Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Joe Morrow - Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Scratched: Matt Bartkowski, Zach Trotman
Injured: Adam McQuaid (broken thumb), David Krejci (groin)
Filip Forsberg – Mike Ribeiro – James Neal
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – Matt Cullen
Derek Roy – Calle Jarnkrok – Craig Smith
Eric Nystrom – Olli Jokinen – Gabriel Bourque
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Anton Volchenkov – Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis
Scratched: Victor Bartley
Injured: Paul Gaustad (lower body), Viktor Stalberg (lower body) Taylor Beck (upper body)
Status report: Morrow will replace Trotman alongside Seidenberg. … Krejci participated in the morning skate but will not play against Nashville. … Beck and Stalberg both participated in the morning skate for Nashville but will not play.
Who's hot: Bergeron has four assists in his past four games for Boston and has won over 60 percent of his faceoffs in that span. … Neal has two goals in the past three games for Nashville.