NASHVILLE — The Bruins and Predators entered Thursday night’s game with urgency. Battling for playoff positioning, both teams needed to come out with their best efforts.
Boston was trying to pick up its fourth win on a season-long, six-game road trip. It had won seven of its last eight games on the road.
Nashville had the better of the Bruins early and the Black & Gold wound up with a two-goal deficit entering the third period that they weren’t able to overcome, falling 2-0.
“Lost us the game,” Captain Zdneo Chara said of the start. “You’ve got to be playing 60 minutes and we didn’t. Those first 20 minutes decided the outcome of the game.”
The Bruins generated the first shot of the game in the opening minute, but the Predators turned on the jets for their home crowd, being first on pucks and generating the better of the chances early on.
Just 2:51 into the first period, Tuukka Rask stopped Craig Smith’s initial attempt in tight, before the puck stayed loose and Smith skated down the slot and lifted it over Rask.
NASHVILLE — The Bruins continue their road trip against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, before closing out the trip in Dallas on Saturday.
Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. local — NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Bergeron returned to the lineup in Columbus on Tuesday night after missing two games with an undisclosed injury.
“It helps,” Bergeron said of the time off the ice. “You try and do as much treatment as possible right now and obviously it’s also about managing the practices and the time on the ice. The schedule’s pretty busy, so I guess it’s a little bit of both.”
The Bruins will likely roll out the same lineup as they had against Columbus. Zac Rinaldo and Joe Morrow stayed on for extra skating Thursday morning, and look to be the projected scratches. Max Talbot could also be a scratch again up front. Tuukka Rask opted to stay off the ice, while Jonas Gustavsson got in extra practice.
NASHVILLE — The Bruins arrived to Nashville late Tuesday night following their 2-1 overtime win in Columbus. It marks their fifth stop on the season-long six-game road trip.
With a 3-1-0 record on the trip, they’ll finish it out against the Predators on Thursday night and then the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
The team hit the ice for an hour-long practice on Wednesday, having a “dress-and-drive” skate where they suited up at Bridgestone Arena and bused over to the Predators’ practice rink. It’s much more practical, with the equipment already loaded into the arena late Tuesday night.
Head Coach Claude Julien said Bergeron’s absence was just maintenance. The Bruins’ staff felt it would be better to give Bergeron rest. He returned to the lineup in Columbus after missing two games.
COLUMBUS — Just 33 seconds into overtime, Loui Eriksson tapped in his 20th of the season to lifts the Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets.
The victory put the Black & Gold at 3-1-0 on their six-game road trip as they jet off to Nashville.
With the game knotted at 1-1 after the first period, the Bruins would have liked to close the game out before the 3-on-3 overtime.
They were outshot 8-1 to start the third period, before finding their legs and landing the last five shots of regulation, but they found a way to get the two points.
“I think you realize that you can get two points in a number of different ways — whether it’s pretty or not,” said Krug. “At the end of the day, we had a tie game heading into the third period on the road and that’s all you can ask for — go win a period, you win a game — so whether it’s pretty or not, it all ends up the same way.”
Bergeron has missed the Bruins’ past two games, while McQuaid has been sidelined for 18 games. Both players took part in the team’s pregame skate at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday morning.
“Probably a game-time decision,” Julien said of Bergeron’s status. “We’ve got to go through the medical staff first and see if he’s good, and No. 2, if there’s a risk attached to it, so we’ll make that decision here as we move along today.”
McQuaid has been skating with the group now since Feb. 4. He sustained his injury on Jan. 5 against Washington.
BostonBruins.com — “Ever going another game without a goal?” Brad Marchand was asked.
He had just scored his 12th goal in 12 games in Minnesota.
“I hope not,” he smiled.
About 24 hours later, Marchand ripped in his 13th goal in 13 games the next afternoon in Detroit — just eight seconds into the game. The smiling continued, accompanied by a few head shakes of disbelief as he skated to the bench for a round of fist bumps from his teammates.
Those watching were left shaking their heads as well.
The goal came right after a faceoff win and was in the net quicker than Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek could even react. It marked the fastest goal ever scored in the Bruins’ 92-year history.
Immediately following the game, Marchand had not yet been slipped that piece of knowledge.
“I didn’t know that,” he said, before whipping up a quick remark. “Write it down in the record books.”
Marchand has re-written his own record book this season.
DETROIT — The Bruins hoped to get their third straight win on their six-game road trip, when they visited the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon in Detroit.
They sat just one point above the Wings in the standings entering the game.
“We know it’s a big game — they play very well here at home,” Brad Marchand said prior to puck drop. “We want to make sure we come prepared to play and really focus on doing a good job playing our system.”
Marchand the Bruins came ready to play.
The winger put Boston up 1-0 just eight seconds into the game for the fastest goal scored in team history, ripping in his 13th goal in 13 games right off the draw.
Even Marchand’s hot streak and a 3-1 lead couldn’t catapult the Black & Gold to the win. They allowed four straight Wings’ goals en route to a 6-5 loss.
Though they did battle back from being down 5-3 to tie the game at 5-5 early in the third, they couldn’t grab a point out of the high scoring affair.
ST. PAUL — The Bruins may not have had Patrice Bergeron in the lineup on Saturday afternoon in Minnesota, but they still got the job done with a 4-2 win over the Wild.
It gave them two straight wins to start their six game road trip, following up Thursday’s 6-2 victory in Winnipeg.
The still-hot Brad Marchand notched his 12th goal in 12 games with a shorthanded tally, David Krejci finished off a give-and-go with David Pastrnak just 35 seconds after the Wild tied the game, and Loui Eriksson put home his 200th career goal off a breakaway for the game-winner.
With Bergeron deemed day-to-day and missing his first game of the season, Ryan Spooner filled in alongside Marchand and Brett Connolly for most of the game. Joonas Kemppainen slotted back into Boston’s lineup at center after being recalled from the Providence Bruins on Friday.
“You know, with Bergy, how can players not buckle down here and play hard in his absence?” said Head Coach Claude Julien, who earned his 500th win behind an NHL bench. “Because we know what he gives us every night and there’s no doubt he’s feeling bad about not being to help us out right now.”
ST. PAUL — Patrice Bergeron was the only player absent from practice on Friday when the Bruins hit the ice at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota, on the second stop of their six-game road trip.
Head Coach Claude Julien said that Bergeron’s absence was considered maintenance.
“Yeah, and right now, I can’t guarantee [Saturday],” said Julien. “We’ll see [Saturday] how he is, so I’d leave him as questionable right now.”
The Bruins face the Minnesota Wild in a Saturday afternoon matinee at 2:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. local time).
Bergeron played only four shifts in the third period, logging 3:15 in ice time.
“I’m not quite sure all the details, but you know, the trainer told me — that’s why I kind of minimized his ice there in the third period,” said Julien. “So I was trying to manage and save him there and so we really cut down his ice time.”
WINNIPEG — The always electric MTS Centre took a brief sigh just 1:38 into the first period on Thursday night, when Patrice Bergeron struck first for the opposition.
That wouldn’t last long, with fast paced, back-and-forth action in the game’s first 30 minutes that resulted in 30 shots on goal for Winnipeg. But by the time the third period came around, the building had returned to its collective sigh.
On the ice, the Jets were still going for it, pulling their goalie with five minutes left in the third. Jimmy Hayes potted the empty-netter to make it 6-2 and give the Bruins their first win on a season-long six-game trip.
“It was a huge start, that’s what we wanted,” said Bergeron, who notched two goals on the night and whose line combined for nine points. “But we know there’s a lot more to this road trip than just one game and now we need to focus on Minnesota.”
On the first shift of the game, Brett Connolly stayed strong cycling with the puck. The red-hot Brad Marchand fed off of that, pulled out a shake-and-bake around the Jets’ defense and set up Bergeron on the doorstep for the center’s 20th goal of the season.