January 2, 2014

Marchand nets winner, pushes Bruins past Preds in OT

By Jesse Connolly

Brad Marchand celebrates his overtime goal, while Jarome Iginla displays his trademark grin. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 3, Nashville 2 (OT)

Recap: After 38 minutes of scoreless hockey, Viktor Stalberg scored with 1:56 to go in the second period, banging home a shot off a rebound past Niklas Svedberg to make it 1-0 Nashville. A recharged Bruins squad tied the game and took the lead in the third.

Johnny Boychuk came in and ripped a Ryan Spooner feed past Marek Mazanec to make it 1-1 at the 4:55 mark of the frame. Jarome Iginla put the B's on top when he crashed the crease and tipped a pass from Milan Lucic in.

The Preds responded with 5:25 to go, as a slapper from captain Shea Weber made it through traffic and past Svedberg to make it 2-2. In the extra session, it took just 54 seconds to determine who'd get the extra point, as Brad Marchand ripped home the game-winner to send the home crowd out into the blizzardy (real word?) Boston night happy.

Records: Boston 27-12-2, 56 points; Nashville 18-18-5, 41 points

Key Play of the Game: On the game-winner, Dougie Hamilton got the breakout going, Patrice Bergeron carried the puck through center ice and hit Marchand at the Predators' blue line. No. 63 showed some slick stick-handling moves, putting the puck through Fisher's legs before wristing one past Mazanec.

Connolly's Commendations: It wasn't always pretty, as there were a few rebounds the Preds failed to take advantage of, but kudos to Svedberg for coming up and earning the victory. The Swedish netminder stopped 33-of-35 shots on the night and will head back to Providence with a nice feather in his cap.

Man, does the first line find a way to get on the score sheet every night or what? Iginla's goal -- set up by Lucic and Krejci -- gave the future Hall of Famer 5-1-6 totals in the last six games. The former Flame is officially on fire.

Connolly's Critiques: The B's deserve a pat on the back for looking like a completely different team in the third after a dud of a middle frame, but their play during that 20-minute stretch was unacceptably poor. Boston was outshot 16-3, continuing their trend of laying an egg in at least one period every game. This was no 60-minute effort.

Notes: Hamilton had just under 18 minutes of ice time in his return to the lineup from a lower-body injury, which kept him out for nearly a month. The second-year pro was on the ice for two goals: Weber's tying tally and Marchand's OT strike, which he earned an assist on. ... Svedberg was reassigned to the AHL immediately following the game. ... Carl Soderberg was also back for Boston after battling concussion-like symptoms. He earned an assist on Boychuk's goal.

Final Thoughts: After spanking the Preds 6-2 down in Nashville just before Christmas, this was a much closer contest. Part of that's because Mazanec's first-period performance was leaps and bounds better than Carter Hutton's was the last time these two teams met, giving this game a different tone from essentially the get-go. Boston may have squandered a 2-1 lead late but, to their credit, they only acquired said lead after potting two goals in the third and ultimately came away with the two points.

Next: The Bruins will host the Jets at TD Garden Saturday at 1 o'clock.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com