Boston, MA — For the third straight game the Boston Bruins went to overtime and for the third straight game they left the TD Garden ice having squandered their chance at two points. The Nashville Predators‘ Ryan Ellis won the game with fifty-five seconds left to play in overtime when he banged home a centering pass from Ryan Johansen. For the Predators it was their third win in their four games while on this road trip.
Viktor Arvidsson horse-collared Brad Marchand along the boards giving the Bruins the game’s first power play just twenty-six seconds in. The third-ranked power play unit had pressure on Pekka Rinne (29 saves) early in the man advantage but the veteran keeper was solid while the penalty kill unit got their feet under them.
Anders Bjork was whistled for Slashing at 7:13 giving Nashville’s 26th ranked power play the man advantage but Boston easily killed off the penalty.
Jake DeBrusk had two scoring opportunities midway through the period. The 23-year-old had a step on Predator’s defenseman Dante Fabbro and fired off a shot that Rinne turned aside but the rebound went back to DeBrusk in the right circle, Fabbro was able to position himself between the Bruins forward and a stickless Rinne as DeBrusk tried to shot the puck on net.
David Krejci was sent off for Tripping at 15:10. Nashville had some early pressure but Jaroslav Halak (25 saves) was up to the task. Brandon Carlo and the Bruins’ ninth-ranked penalty kill wound-down the penalty by keeping the puck tied up against the boards.
Boston outshot Nashville 11-8 for the period, while the Predators slightly had more offensive zone time than the Bruins 8:43 to 8:01.
Nashville came out flying for the second period. Nick Bonino had a bid down low that Halak stonewalled at the left post. Then Matt Duchene set up Rocco Grimaldi at the left post but Halal made the save. Mikael Granlund was unable to bang home the rebound attempt. All three chances coming in the opening minute.
Predator defenseman Dan Hamhuis was called for Tripping at 4:23 but the Bruins power play was lackluster.
Solid forechecking by the Bruins fourth line led to the opening of the scoring. Brett Ritchie fired a shot from the left face-off dot that Rinne redirected to his right. Par Lindholm was crashing the net and got a stick on the careening puck at the same time that Predators forward Kyle Turris spun Lindholm. Turris inadvertently knocked both puck and Lindholm into the Nashville net giving the bruins the 1-0 lead at 7:30. The goal was Lindholm’s second of the season.
Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was called for Slashing at 10:19 putting Nashville on the power play. Duchene fed Craig Smith alone in front for a one-timer that Halak shouldered over the crossbar. Smith was then sent off for Tripping Zdeno Chara at 11:27.
Nashville’s Roman Josi evened the score 1-1 when he backhanded the puck past Halak at 12:14. Josi’s 12th of the season was assisted by Ryan Johansen.
A tremendous shift by Brad Marchand led to a roughing call on Filip Forsberg when the Predator’s forward hit Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy in the neutral zone but continued the rough play as McAvoy was on the ice.
Torey Krug set up Patrice Bergeron at the bottom of the right circle for a one-timer that beat Rinne at 19:12. Bergeron’s 12th goal of the season put Boston on top 2-1 going into the second intermission.
Despite trailing Nashville outshot Boston 11-8 for the period for a 19-19 total after two periods of play.
The Bruins opened the third period with a flurry of shots on Rinne.
Boston carried the play in the early part of the period but with a delayed penalty coming against the Bruins the Predators evened the score 2-2 at 7:35. Forsberg took a pass on the goal line and walked in on Halak. As Forsberg shot, Carlo got a stick on the puck but it deflected up and over Halak on the post.
Just thirty-five seconds later Nashville took the lead 3-2 when Krug’s shot at the Nashville blue line was blocked by Colton Sissons, playing in his 300th career game. The puck caromed all the way back into the Bruins zone. Halak raced out to try beat Josi to the puck but lost the footrace. Halak managed to send both the puck and Josi into the corner, but the veteran defenseman fired the puck into the open net for his second goal of the game at 8:10.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy used his team’s timeout after the goal. Boston heeded their bench boss’ message as they applied pressure to Rinne and the Predators for the remainder of the period.
With the face-off coming in the Nashville zone off of an icing at 2:08, Boston pulled Halak for the extra attacker. The move paid off when Bergeron’s second goal of the evening, on a tip of David Pastrnak‘s shot, tied the game at 3-3 with 1:05 left to play. After three periods Boston was outshooting Nashville 30-26.
For the Predators it would be their ninth overtime of the season, while it would be Boston’s 11th.
“It definitely had a hard fought feel to it, a playoff type feel to it,” said Predators coach Peter Laviolette. “They’re (Boston) a good team, they check well, they defend well, had to go to overtime, so it was a great win. Great hockey game.”
“I don’t see a negative in the room, in terms of blaming each other or lack of effort in practice, lack of compete to try and come back,” said Cassidy of his team’s attitude. “I just see that they’re frustrated with not being able to get into the winner’s circle. Especially with these overtimes, one goal games in Washington and Tampa. You know? Better efforts that haven’t resulted in wins.”
Boston hosts Washington at 7:00 pm while Nashville host the Phoenix Coyotes at 8:00 pm on Monday before the NHL shuts down for the Christmas break.