Preds netminder Pekka Rinne stopped all three Bruins shooters to extend a franchise record of 14-consecutive stops in the breakaway competition, while Derek Roy netted the shootout winner for Nashville.
Roy pulled the puck toward his forehand before coming to a near stop in the crease and tucking a backhand around Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
“It’s a huge point on the line every single time in the [shootout],” Rinne said. “As of late, we have been pretty good in those situations, and it was a big goal by Roy right off the bat. He did not play a lot during the regular 65 minutes and then he steps on the ice in a high pressure situation and scores a huge goal. They have some good shooters, but I was able to stop them and pull that out.”
The Predators put 20 shots on the Bruins net in the first 40 minutes, but still saw Boston record the game’s first goal with forward Milan Lucic’s tally in the second frame. After just missing on multiple backdoor connections on a power play, Lucic scored off his own rebound to put Boston ahead 1-0.
The Predators showed their season-long trend of resiliency, however, by tying the contest on Mike Fisher’s power play deflection in the final seconds of the middle period.
“We have been talking about it all year, how we are just trying to bounce back as quickly as we can,” Nashville forward Filip Forsberg said. “Even though we might win a game, if we do not play great, we want to come back with a better effort the next time we play. I think we played way better tonight than we did in San Jose, so it felt good to win for sure.”
After the clubs exchanged goals in the opening minutes of the third period, it was on to the shootout where Rinne was the difference for Nashville as the team won its third straight in the one-on-one drill.
“The way Rinne has put us on his shoulders in the shootout is so great. He helped us nail down the game and get the win,” Forsberg said.
The victory also pushed the franchise’s lifelong General Manager David Poile into the No. 2 spot on the NHL’s all-time wins list for a GM. Tuesday’s shootout triumph was the 1,171st victory of Poile’s illustrious career, a total that moved him ahead of former Bruins GM Harry Sinden.
Power Play Breakthrough
A spinning Roy fed Forsberg who sent the puck across the zone to Craig Smith for a point blank, one-timer into the net. That was how the Predators first goal of the 2014-15 season happened on October 9.
Smith’s tally on Opening Night happened 67 days ago - the last time the Preds had recorded a man-advantage goal at home until Tuesday’s power-play tally against the Bruins.
In the second period against Boston, Fisher deflected a Shea Weber shot past Rask’s shoulder with 30 ticks left in the middle frame. The puck just trickled over the top of the Bruins goaltender in a play that Laviolette said the team has been working on.
“I know it’s a bounce, but it’s actually a set play,” Laviolette said. “That’s what most teams do in some sort of a 1-3-1 is try to get pucks to the top, or off of a flank and bring it to the net, and hope the goaltender is screened or it hits something, or redirects off of something. [Then] you can put in a rebound goal. While it seems a little bit lucky, it’s actually what we work on.”
“I’ve got to do everything I can to make sure goalies aren’t seeing the puck and doing what I can to get second chances,” Fisher said of playing at the net front on the power play. “We’ve got two units that can score and we think it’s just matter of time before things break out...It was good to get that one at home and it would be great to keep it rolling. We know it’s going to be a huge factor going forward.”
Personally Fisher’s first goal at home, the marker read the same way the forward’s power-play goal against Arizona went on Thursday: Forsberg to Weber for a shot with a Fisher deflection.
“I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my [position] on the power play,” Forsberg said. “I haven’t spent that much time on the half wall, so I’ve been trying learn my role on it. I also know that with Fisher right in front, I can always take the shot because it’s a [good option] most times or give it to Weber with his great shot.”
The power play goal on Tuesday moved the Preds success at home to 2-for-48.
“It’s been a little while since I’ve been [at the front of the net],” Fisher said. “It’s just matter of time, but I think everyone is just getting a little more comfortable on our units and we’ve just got to keep shooting, then we’ll get more goals.”
General Manager Hits Elite Number:
The comeback win on Tuesday was a special one for Nashville’s GM, who has been at the helm since the franchise’s inception. Poile broke a tie with former Boston GM Harry Sinden, collecting the 1,171st victory of his career.
Prior to his press conference on Tuesday, Nashville’s head coach recognized Poile on the feat.
“I just wanted to congratulate David Poile on his win tonight which puts him No. 2 in wins for general managers,” Laviolette said. “It’s an impressive feat and I know that the coaches and players and staff, not only in the present, but in the past, certainly appreciate all he does for our organization. He’s shown an incredible way to deal with people, put together good teams and find success, and that’s not easy to do year after year, so congratulations to him.”
The accomplishment was a long-time coming with the general manager in charge of an NHL franchise for his 32nd full season, including the 2014-15 campaign.
Poile is the only general manager in NHL history to be at the helm of two different clubs for 1,000 games and 500 victories and is the lone person to be a finalist for the General Manager of the Year Award in each of its first three years of existence.
The Predators have yet to lose back-to-back games this season. Nashville is now 7-1-2 when tied after two periods and 4-1 in shootouts this season. The Preds have a home record of 12-2-1, including four shootout victories.