Boston travels to Nashville on Thursday to take on a Predators team fresh off a 6-0 thumping of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Star forward Filip Forsberg score four goals in the victory.
Without Brad Marchand again, the Bruins are in for another tough matchup with a Predators team that has performed above expectations thus far.
When: 8 p.m. ET
Where: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee
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"Predators projected linesTolvanen-Johansen-KuninForsberg-Granlund-DucheneTrenin-Sissons-JeannotCousins-Novak-Tomasino Josi-FabbroEkholm-CarrierBorowiecki-Benning SarosRittich"
Forsberg is the man to watch for if you’re the Bruins. He’s back form an upper-body injury and not just coming off the four-goal performance, but he has six goals and two assist in the four games since returning from injury. Despite missing nine games, he’s still second on the team in goals with 10 and fifth in points with 15.
Both Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen are producing for the Preds with 24 and 18 points respectively but it’s Mikael Granlund leading the way with 25 points. He’s been a play-making machine this season, with 20 assists to far in 22 games. He’s tied with Nazem Kadri and Evgeny Kuznetsov for third in the league in the category.
Juuse Saros, while not confirmed at time of publish to be in net, is one of the best young goaltenders in the league. He carries a 10-7-1 record with a 2.35 GAA and a .932 SV% into Thursday’s matchup.
It should be a fairly even matchup between these two squads. The numbers are fairly similar between the teams. The Bruins average 2.95 goals per game, the Preds average 2.86. The Bruins give up an average of 2.79 goals per game, the Preds give up 2.86. Even their power plays click at a nearly even pace, with Boston capitalizing on 25.9% of its chances and Nashville sitting at 25.0$.
The difference could come down to special teams, as Nashville ranks towards the bottom in penalty kill percentage at 78.6%. The Bruins power play has three goals in the past two games and could be the key to a victory for Boston.
This is also a homecoming for Craig Smith. He played nine seasons in Nashville before signing with the Boston Bruins in the summer of 2020. It’s his first time back to the place where he broke into the league.
It’s a tough task against a Western Conference foe. The Bruins have only lost back-to-back games once this season and trying to avoid a second time on Thursday.