The Boston Bruins concluded their road trip by invading the Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night against the Predators in their first meeting of the season. The two teams find themselves in different situations, the Bruins are the best team in the league and have been all year; while the Predators enter this game hovering around .500.
The Bruins started the game off strong winning the opening faceoff and asserting their dominance early. They spent most of the time at the beginning of the game in the offensive zone and they were rewarded with a goal 3 minutes into the period. Boston spent some time on the penalty kill with Taylor Hall and Trent Frederic taking penalties. Boston was able to hold their own while short-handed allowing only 3 shots. The Bruins drew a penalty on Nashville’s Roman Josi for a high stick. Boston wasn’t able to convert but they showed better puck movement and opened themselves up for some good opportunities.
The second period showed more of the same dominance as the first period scoring three goals one of which was on the power play. Patrice Bergeron got a sweet feed from Hampus Lindholm to bury his 19th goal of the year and put the Bruins up 3-0. Boston didn’t just beat the Predators in this period. They beat them down. Connor Clifton laid a hit on Ryan McDonagh launching him into the boards.
The Bruins started the third on the power play where they showed their constant pressure. The Predators were pinned in their zone for almost the entire minute and a half Boston had left. Nashville decided to show up a little late to the party and started getting pressure at the Bruins’ end but Boston was able to hold strong. Jakob Lauko got called for a trip halfway through the period. The game got physical in the third with hits being tossed around like pennies at a fountain. Boston was able to keep the Nashville power play at bay and continued to show that they were playing as men amongst boys by extending the lead to 5-0 with a goal from Trent Fredric.
The Bruins showed some good flashes on the power play. Let’s hope the return of Jake DeBrusk puts some wind in those sails. With two weeks before the trade deadline, the Bruins might look to add some depth to the roster for the playoff push. Many Names have been tossed around but one name stands out in particular. I’m not sure if Don Sweeney wants to make any moves out of fear of messing with team chemistry. If The Bruins were to make a move I do not think it will be a huge splash.
Jeremy Swayman seems to have turned it around going 5-1-1 in his last 8 starts with an average of 1.71 goals against and a .941 save percentage in that span. He has slowly crept into the top 20 of Goalies save percentage-wise with an overall average of .914. Many seemed worried about Swayman’s slow start but I had nothing but faith in his ability to adjust and get back to his normal self. He adds his second shutout of the season and his 7th overall in his career with his 29-save performance last night. If Swayman can keep up this level of play, the Bruins might have a netminder rotation in the playoffs rather than a set starter.
The power-play unit was really good last night. They were creating chances all over the ice. Boston only managed one power-play goal but they were able to keep the pressure on for the majority of their time on the advantage.
The Boston Bruins continue to beat anyone put in front of them regardless of the location. Boston is 19-6-2 in away games and an astounding 22-4-1 at home. If Boston is healthy and can fully integrate any deadline additions, they will be the hardest team to beat in the playoffs.
Boston looks to keep the streak alive against the New York Islanders on Saturday at TD Garden.