Bruins-Predators Preview

When they returned from one of their longest trips of the

season, the Boston Bruins turned their focus toward finishing with

a winning record in their final four games before the Christmas

break.

A spate of injuries hasn’t made it easy but the Bruins can

accomplish that goal by beating the slumping Nashville Predators on

Monday night and avoiding a third consecutive road defeat.

Boston’s impressive play at home has helped it keep winning

despite a bevy of injuries and Shawn Thornton’s 15-game suspension.

There’s a chance Adam McQuaid could come back from a lower-body

injury in Nashville but Loui Eriksson (concussion), Daniel Paille

(concussion), Dougie Hamilton (lower body) and Chris Kelly (leg)

are all expected to remain out of the lineup.

The Bruins overcame those absences Saturday to earn their

seventh consecutive home win, 4-1 over Buffalo, avenging a 4-2 loss

at the Sabres on Thursday. Reilly Smith scored a pair of goals and

David Krejci had the tiebreaking tally in the second period.

Krejci also provided an assist for his fifth multipoint

performance in the last 10 games.

“(What) we talk about in the room is not losing two games in a

row. That’s something that we really focus on,” defenseman Torey

Krug told the team’s website. “You go from game to game and you’re

not always going to get the outcome that you want.”

“We played a pretty good game in Buffalo and didn’t get the

right outcome and then we came back and we just wanted to keep

doing similar things because we knew it would produce goals for us,

and play good defense. So it’s nice to have that mentality.”

The Bruins (24-10-2) will try to head into the Christmas break

with a third win in four games by sending a streaky Nashville team

to a fourth consecutive defeat.

“When we got back from our swing in western Canada, we talked

about how we had four games and we wanted to go out with a bang.

We’re 2-1 now and 3-1 will look a lot better than 2-2,” Krug

said.

The Predators (16-16-4) rallied from an early three-goal deficit

Saturday against Montreal but fell 4-3 in overtime.

”It was a tough start for us, and we’ve talked about having

good starts in this building,” captain Shea Weber said. “But we

showed a lot of character tonight and did a lot of good things.

That’s going to build some confidence.”

Rookie defenseman Seth Jones was forced to leave that game after

being hit by a puck in the face, but there’s a chance he’ll play

Monday.

“It was a scary injury, but I’m all good and back on the ice

now,” Jones tweeted Sunday.

Boston is 3-0-2 in its last five against the Predators and

earned a 4-3 shootout win in its most recent matchup Feb. 11, 2012.

The Bruins have also dropped their last three games in Nashville,

where they haven’t played since March 17, 2011.

Patrice Bergeron has scored a goal in each of his last three

contests against the Predators.