Preds Take a Bite Out of B’s
Saturday, 12.30.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com
Nashville -- The Boston Bruins fell to the Western Conference powerhouse Nashville Predators 5-0 in front of a packed house at the Gaylord Entertainment Center Saturday night in Tennessee.
Five different Predator skaters scored on the Bruins, who fell to 19-14-3, fourth in the Northeast Division, eighth in the Eastern Conference and 1-1-1 thus far on their current four game road trip.
Bruins backup goalie Hannu Toivonen got the start in goal for Boston, spelled workhorse Tim Thomas, and looked to help the B's climb the Eastern Conference ladder.
The Nashvile Predators had their own plan in mind, however, as they came out gnashing their teeth and loaded for (the) bear(s) and quickly put the Boston squad in a 2-0 hole.
Nashville's David Legwand scored his 11th goal off assists from Paul Kariya and Dan Hamhuis at 9:38.
Preds Shea Weber then scored his 6th of the year at 16:36 thanks to Vernon Fiddler and Scott Hartnell.
Far from being the culprit for the B's early hole, and despite the pair of Predators goals, Toivonen acquitted himself quite well in the first period and made nine saves.
Unfortunately for Bruins fans, the second period was a repeat of the first and the B's found themselves staring at a four goal deficit after 40-minutes.
True, Boston played well at times, but Nashville carried the play for the majority of the session.
The Predators Jerred Smithson scored just his third of the season, off a feed from Jordin Tootoo and Kimmo Timonen at 10:53, and then Kariya, a legendary University of Maine hockey player, added his 12th of the season (thanks to an assist from Legwand) at 19:11 and put Nashville up 4-0 going into the second break
Predators goalie Chris Mason, who, like Toivonen, usually plays the backup roll for Nashville has been brilliant through two periods and has stopped all 24 Boston shots.
The third period saw more of the same from Nashville.
Josef Vasicek scored his third of the season early in the period, thanks to assists from Tootoo and Smithson, and put the Predators up 5-0 at 3:09 of the session. And Mason shut the door the rest of the way, ending the game with 38 saves and his first shutout of the season.
It was the first time the Bruins were blanked during the current campaign.
Despite the score, Bruins head coach Dave Lewis praised his team's efforts.
"I thought overall our guys played hard," said Lewis. "Sometimes you play good games and lose."
"I thought we played pretty hard," said B's forward Shean Donovan. "We made couple of mistakes and they took advantage of them.
"They're one of the elite teams in the league.
"That's what they do and that’s what they did to us tonight," he said.
Boston next plays on Monday night in Toronto -- the first half of a home at home series with the Leafs.