Nashville Predators 2, Boston Bruins 3 (OT)
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins rarely lose two in a row. And they haven't lost three in a row this season.
Brad Marchand scored 54 seconds into overtime, and Niklas Svedberg made 33 saves in his NHL debut to give the Bruins a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden on Thursday.
The Bruins (27-12-2) had lost their prior two games, the third time this season they dropped consecutive games.
“You know I don’t think we dwelled on it too much,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You know it’s like a two-game losing streak, but we were more focused on winning this one. And whether you win it in regulation or overtime, I think it’s the win itself that matters. It’s nice to get back in the winning column. There’s no doubt when you win you feel a lot better as a team. And I think if we were going to practice tomorrow and knowing that we’ve lost three in a row, there’s no doubt it would’ve been a different, probably, atmosphere around our dressing room. But it’ll feel good, practicing tomorrow, a lot better.”
“I wasn’t sure,” Marchand said about the move. “I was kind of getting ready to backcheck because you never know with that move. Luckily it went in, and I saw the guy coming, so I just wanted to get it off. I think a lot of traffic in front. He didn’t really see it.”
Late in the third period, Marchand was dropped by a Shea Weber hit near the Nashville bench. Marchand put his head down while he recuperated on the bench. Despite getting rocked by one of the biggest hitters in the NHL, Marchand was able to get himself back together to be a hero.
“Yeah, I was a little shaken up,” he said. “I just got a stick in the mouth, which was the biggest thing. And I hurt my back a bit. But he’s a big boy and you’re bound to get hit every now and again, but I was all right.”
The Predators (18-18-5) lost the first of their three-game road trip, but earned a point by making a comeback from a goal down in the third period.
“One of the things I thought is, [Boston] put their young goaltender in there today. One of the things is, it puts all the onus on the team to play defensively, and I thought the team played strong defensively, didn’t give us a whole lot, and we had to manufacture and work for our chances,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “But we showed character getting that point back. I just didn’t like, there was about a seven-minute span there where our forwards did a real poor job in terms of our structure and sort of our recognition on situations. That, to me, we gave them opportunity to go ahead of us, and we showed great character coming back.”
Boston's Johnny Boychuk scored his first goal in 19 games to tied it 1-1 early in the third period. Teammate Ryan Spooner skated from the circle in his end to the circle in Nashville’s zone before feeding Boychuk in the high slot. The defenseman stopped the puck then picked the top corner to the glove side at 4:55.
Bruins forward Jarome Iginla broke the tie with some old-school net drive. After Milan Lucic gained the zone and took the puck wide, he found the angle to feed Iginla, who had beaten Nashville defenseman Roman Josi to the front for a tip at 12:29.
Weber’s blast from the high slot tied the game again at 14:35. Svedberg stopped Fisher’s backhand from in tight before Weber scored on the rebound for a 2-2 tie.
“Yeah they’re one of the best in the East, and I thought we played solid road game and did some real good things,” Fisher said. “You want the two [points] always, but we build on it.”
The goaltender duel continued from the first period into the second. Each made his best saves of the period around the 15-minute mark. Mazanek made a pad save on a Reilly Smith one-timer from between the hash marks. About 30 seconds later, Svedberg had to flash his left pad to stop Seth Jones after a move to the net around Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid.
Viktor Stalberg got the Predators on the scoreboard first at 18:04, when Nashville caught Boston during an ill-timed line change. Weber advanced the puck to a wide-open Fisher at the Boston blue line. Fisher gained the zone and fired a shot off Svedberg from the right faceoff dot. The rebound bounced to Stalberg, just below the left hash mark, for a shot that landed in the back of the net before Svedberg could get back into position.
The Predators outshot the Bruins, 16-3, in the second period. Mazanec made 22 saves.
Svedberg was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Thursday morning. After the game, Julien announced Svedberg would return to Providence.
“I didn’t see him being much different from the first [period] till the third,” Julien said. “I thought in the second, when they did throw a lot of pucks at him, he stood tall and made some good saves. I liked his game tonight. I really thought he was good, and he just showed us that he’s a game we need to look at and keep an eye on and consider.”
Nashville hasn't won in Boston since Nov. 28, 2003 (four games).
Boston won the prior meeting this season, 6-2 on Dec. 23. The Bruins finish their three-game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday before heading on a three-game road trip to California. The Predators next skate Saturday on the road against the Florida Panthers.