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Post-Game Musings: at Boston

by Doug Brumley / Nashville Predators
The resilient Nashville Predators stole a point in the standings Saturday afternoon in Boston, battling an at-times dominant Bruins team to overtime and a shootout. Nashville ultimately fell 4-3—a minor miracle in a game in which they were outshot 41-22.

Special teams made the impact on the scoreboard through the first two periods, with Patrice Bergeron scoring a shorthanded goal for the Bruins 16:00 into the game and Nashville’s power play evening things up at 1-1 on a Shea Weber one-timer 7:32 into the middle frame.

For much of the game, Nashville struggled to cleanly get the puck out of its own zone. Clearing attempts became turnovers, which became Boston shots. While the Predators righted the ship a bit as the game progressed, the trend was evident in the Bruins’ shot advantages per period: 16 to 6 in the first; 10 to 7 in the second; 14-6 in the third.

Boston went up 2-1 early in the third stanza, but Patric Hornqvist and Mike Fisher answered for Nashville to give the visitors their first lead with 3:32 left in regulation. A tripping penalty on Preds forward Sergei Kostitsyn put the Bruins on a late power play, and Boston’s Milan Lucic knotted the game at 3-3 with 1:07 remaining. Nashville secured one point in the standings by making it to overtime, and tried to earn another one in sudden death play.

The Predators outshot the Bruins 3-1 in the extra session, but neither team scored in the five-minute period. Boston then beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne twice in the shootout while Predators shooters Kostitsyn and Martin Erat failed to convert their chances. That gave Boston the 4-3 win.

Nashville, now 32-18-6 this season for 70 points in the standings, returns home to prepare for a Tuesday night meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Matinee Stars: Nashville’s perfect 2-0 record in Saturday afternoon games this season was snapped with the shootout loss in Boston. The Bruins game was the Predators’ third and final matinee contest in 2011-12. The Predators topped Calgary by a 2-0 score in their first afternoon game of the season on Oct. 22, and beat the Islanders by a 3-1 score on Jan. 16. Since the start of the 2003-04 campaign, Nashville has a 22-7-8 record in matinees.

Getting Shortie: Boston opened the scoring Saturday with a shorthanded goal against the Predators. Brad Marchand set up Patrice Bergeron for a wrister from the right circle that beat goaltender Pekka Rinne. The goal was the Bruins’ seventh “shortie” of the season. It was just the third such goal the Predators have allowed this season. Meanwhile, with Weber’s second period goal, Nashville’s power play has tallied in seven of the last ten games.

Resiliency: Though Nashville has failed to record a “W” in three straight matches, the Predators have not gone two games in the calendar year 2012 without earning at least one point. Nashville has two shootout losses in its last three games, but manages to gain points on teams further down the Western Conference standings by taking the games past regulation time. The last time Nashville lost two consecutive games in regulation was Dec. 23 and 26 (at DAL and home vs. DET), 20 games ago.

Nashville forward Mike Fisher: “[Boston] played great in the first period. First ten minutes of the second period we were not very good at all. But you know, we hung around. [Pekka Rinne] kept us in it. The good thing is we battled pretty hard in the third period and found a way to get a point. We could have won it if it hadn’t been for the penalty late.”

F, Bergeron (BOS): 1 goal (shorthanded), shootout goal to end the game
F, Hornqvist (NSH): 1 goal, 1 assist, +1, only multipoint player in the game
F, Lucic (BOS): 1 goal, 7 shots

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