National Hockey League
Bruins-Predators Preview
National Hockey League

Bruins-Predators Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 1:03 p.m. ET

A mediocre performance earlier this week couldn't keep the Boston Bruins from continuing their road success, and the stumbling Nashville Predators don't figure to either.

While the Bruins look to keep rolling through a season-long road trip Thursday night, the Predators hope to put the brakes on their struggles at home.

Boston (31-20-6) has pulled within four points of Atlantic Division-leading Florida with a 10-4-1 stretch since Jan. 15, thanks in large part to strong play on the road.

Tuesday's 2-1 overtime win at Columbus moved Boston to 3-1 on its six-game trip and was the team's seventh victory in the last eight away from home. Boston is 19-6-3 on the road and can join Washington as the only Eastern Conference teams with 20 road victories - three more than the Bruins had all of last season.


After scoring 15 goals on the first three stops of their road trip, the Bruins had to come from behind for Tuesday's win. Tuukka Rask surrendered an early goal but finished with 28 saves, and Loui Eriksson scored 33 seconds into overtime.

Boston overcame its fourth straight scoreless game on the power play, going 0 for 4 to extend a disappointing stretch for one of the league's top units. The Bruins hold a season power-play percentage of 22.1, but they have just one goal in their last 32 opportunities spanning nine games.

''I felt like it wasn't the best game ... we made so many mistakes, even on the power play,'' Eriksson said. ''We made some mistakes. They got some breakaways. At the end of the day we got the win, so it was nice.''

Eriksson scored a goal in his fourth straight game and has five in his last six following a nine-game drought.

Patrice Bergeron also scored Tuesday for his third goal in the last two games, though Brad Marchand finished without one for just the second time in the last 14.

Eriksson scored in this season's first meeting against Nashville, but Viktor Arvidsson's third-period goal lifted the Predators to a 3-2 road win. Boston had been 6-0-3 in the previous nine matchups.

Nashville (26-21-10) has opened February 2-3-2, including a 1-3-1 mark at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators lost for the fifth time in six home games with Monday's 3-2 overtime defeat to Dallas.

A bad change led to Nashville's ninth overtime loss in 10 tries in this season's new 3-on-3 format.

''That's something that's easily fixable," captain Shea Weber said. "We've been better, we've improved since, we've done some work on it, but still, those points make the difference.''

While Rask snapped a three-game span in which he held an .870 save percentage this week, Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne's struggles continued last week before taking two games off in favor of backup Carter Hutton, who made 15 saves against the Bruins in December.

Rinne dropped to 1-3-1 with a 3.41 goals-against average in his last five starts following Friday's 4-3 overtime loss at Tampa Bay. He is 3-0-1 with a 2.32 GAA lifetime against Boston.

"Confidence is a huge thing and it's a skill to keep it at an even level," Rinne told the team's official website. "It's going to go up and down throughout the season."

Rask is 2-0-2 with a 2.66 GAA in four career starts against Nashville.


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