#9 Boston Bruinsvs.#10 Nashville Predators
Written by Valdis Pans
Boston Bruins (22-17-4-1) vs. Nashville Predators (18-16-4-3)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 12, 2017
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Lines: Boston +101 / Nashville -111
After winning two of their last three games, the Boston Bruins (2nd in Atlantic Division) will finish off a 4-game road trip with a brawl against the Nashville Predators (4th in Central), who are just coming off a win against Vancouver…
The Boston Bruins (22-17-5) were in a lethal mood at Scottrade Center, beating the hosting St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Tuesday, thus taking their current form to two wins in the past three outings (2-0-1). The game marked former St. Louis captain David Backes’ (11 goals, 21 points for the year) return to his former play-ground, where he spent his first 10 seasons before signing with Boston as a free agent. Backes didn’t register a point, but notched up 17 penalty minutes. Brad Marchand (15 goals, 38 points) and David Pastrnak (19 goals, 31 points), meanwhile, got three points each, with Marchand scoring twice and assisting once, and Pastrnak providing three assists. Frank Vatrano (3 goals, 6 points), Brandon Carlo (3 goals, 9 points)and Torey Krug (2 goals, 25 points) were also on the score-sheet.
Tuukka Rask wasn’t a busy man in the net for Boston, making 14 saves on 17 shots. He is 21-9-3 for the year so far with a 1.97 GAA and has gone 2-1-2 against Nashville in the past with a 2.56 career GAA. The Bruins are currently 11th in the league with 49 points from 44 games and have gone 13-7-5 on the road. They are scoring the 8th lowest amount of goals per fixture (2.45), conceding the 7th lowest number in their defensive zone (2.43 per game). Boston has the 8th worst power play delivery in the NHL with a poor 15.6% success rate, but ranks 2nd in penalty kill with a glorious 87.1% efficiency.
Having gone 2-16 in overtime since the NHL moved to the 3-on-3 format and 0-4 in the extra periods this season prior to their last matchup, the Nashville Predators (18-16-7) finally got an OT win at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday. Calle Jarnkrok (6 goals, 11 points for the season) scored a shorthanded goal with just 1.5 seconds remaining in the overtime, giving Nashville a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Austin Watson (3 goals, 9 points) netted for the second time in two games, while Mike Fisher (11 goals, 25 points) registered an assist, his 299th in the NHL. The Preds were also happy to welcome back Viktor Arvidsson (10 goals, 25 points), who missed past two contests with an upper-body injury.
Goalie Pekka Rinne made 29 saves and has now extended his season performance to 15-11-6 with a 2.42 GAA. He has an excellent 4-0-1 record against Boston with a solid 1.89 career GAA. The Predators are sitting in the 21st place in the NHL with 43 points from 41 games and have a decent 11-5-5 home record. They are averaging the 12th highest amount of goals scored per game (2.76), allowing the 14th lowest amount on the defensive end (2.63 per outing). Nashville ranks 15th in power play with an OK 18.8% success rate and 12th in penalty kill with a pretty good 82.7% effectiveness.
The Bruins have not done too well in Nashville historically, having won just one of their last five games there. The Preds, though, have had something of a slump at home lately, winning just one game at Bridgestone Arena in their past seven outings (1-3-3). The Bruins are 3-1-1 in their past five road trips and will be keen to add another victory to that, especially with Nashville still missing the influential defenseman P.K Subban to injury…
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Valdis got his first ever article published when he was 13, and has rarely stopped. He has worked for FHM, MTV Baltics and has done loads of freelance (from columns for Cosmopolitan magazine to helping with organization of Macy Gray’s shows in the Northern Europe). Speaks five different languages, loves pizza, American Horror Story and pipe organ music, and knows European soccer better than dates of his family members’ birthdays. Is an avid fan of ice-hockey too. He is a Latvian after all...