Final: Boston 4, Nashville 3 (SO)
Recap: Near the end of a dominant opening period, the Bruins got on the board first when Patrice Bergeron capitalized on the hard, shorthanded work of Brad Marchand to make it 1-0. In the second, after getting outshot 16-6 in the opening frame, Nashville knotted things up when a bomb from d-man Shea Weber beat Tim Thomas.
Boston broke the tie early in the third on a nice backhander by Dan Paille, via a behind-the-net feed from Shawn Thornton, to make it 2-1. But the Preds wouldn't quit. Nashville evened things up at two apiece with 10:27 to go on a goal from Patric Hornqvist. With 3:32 remaining, Mike Fisher slipped one past Thomas to make it 3-2. With Thomas on his way to the bench for an extra attacker, Milan Lucic buried a rebound with 1:07 to go to force overtime.
Afrer a scoreless extra session, the two teams headed to the shootout. David Krejci was stopped on his bid, as was Sergei Kostitsyn. After Tyler Seguin scored, Thomas stayed with Martin Erat and stoned the Preds forward. Bergeron ended it in the third round, squeaking one through the wickets to earn Boston the extra point.
Records: Boston 34-17-2, 70 points; Nashville 32-18-6, 70 points
Key Play of the Game: Lucic's goal with 1:07 left was a godsend. Peverley's initial shot forced Rinne to do a split and reach out with his glove-hand. When it caromed off the boards and quickly came back in front, the Nashville netminder had no shot at getting back in position to stop Lucic from roofing one over him.
Connolly's Commendations: Three cheers for Bergeron's efforts in today's victory. No. 37 opened the scoring in regulation and sealed the deal in the shootout. The center, per usual, won a game-high 15 faceoffs.
The Bruins, as a whole, deserve to be commended for showing some serious resilience this afternoon. With things not going their way of late, a blown lead late in the third could've easily buried this club. But Boston stuck to it and worked hard for the tying tally.
Hats off to Lucic, who came through with the big strike late. The hulking winger was feisty and heavily involved from start to finish. He fired a game-high seven shots on goal.
Connolly's Critiques: Tough night for Thomas in this one. Nashville finished up with 22 shots on goal, but all three strikes came on the first 19 shots of the game. Thomas somewhat redeemed himself in the shootout, but he undoubtedly wanted to be sharper in Saturday's matinee.
Yoohoo! David Krejci! Where were you? No. 46 was absolutely invisible in today's tilt. He got beat in damn near every battle, fired zero shots on goal and had no impact on the victory.
Notes: With his goal late in the third, Lucic became the only NHL player with 20 goals and 100 penalty minutes this season. Benoit Pouliot had a decent showing with three shots on goal, but the winger has now gone 20 games without a goal.
Final Thoughts: Coming off of an abysmal loss like the one they suffered on Wednesday in Buffalo, the Bruins badly needed the two points in today's tilt. This should give them a nice boost going into a pivotal matchup with New York.
Next: The Bruins will return to action on Tuesday, as they'll welcome the conference-leading Rangers to TD Garden.