Less than two weeks after being trounced by the Boston Bruins, the Nashville Predators hung with one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams last night, losing 3-2 in overtime.
The game between Boston and Nashville on December 23rd, was a reminder of all that was going wrong for the Preds as they fell 6-2 to the Bruins, while giving up three power play goals. At the time, the loss was the Predators fourth-straight defeat–a number that would swell to five–before Nashville ended the streak with a pair of wins coming into last night’s rematch with the Bruins.
With a revitalized offense and netminder (Marek Mazanec), the Preds entered last night’s game with a lot more moxie than they did nine days ago.
Both teams played pretty evenly through the first period, with Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg settling into the contest, in his first NHL start. The first frame concluded with Boston holding the edge in shots, 11-8, and the score tied at zero.
There was a wide disparity in the caliber of play in the second period, however. The Predators returned to the ice with a whole new level of energy and intensity they did not show in the game’s first 20 minutes.
Nashville pounded 16 shots on the Bruins net while only giving up three. Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher continued the strong play they’ve exhibited over the last two games and the compliment of Viktor Stalberg’s speed kept the action in the Bruins end for the majority of the second period.
Despite the Preds repeated offensive chances, it appeared the game might remain scoreless after 40 minutes until Viktor Stalberg tallied the game’s first goal at the 18:04 mark of the second.
But if Nashville controlled the action in the second frame, there’s little doubt Boston owned the third period.
Shades of December 23rd came flying back as the Bruins broke up the ice with repeated odd-man rushes and shot after shot on the Nashville net. Unable to withstand such a relentless attack, Nashville gave up the tying and go-ahead goals in the third. Suddenly trailing with only eight minutes remaining, things did not look good for the team from Music City.
With their chances of pulling the upset very much in doubt, Nashville regrouped and rallied. Showing the same resiliency present in their pair of wins over the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings, the Preds answered back. A Shea Weber blast from the point tied the game at 14:35, just over two minutes after Boston had taken their first lead.
There was little question of where the game would go next, as both teams seemed quite content to claim at least the point of an overtime game.
Only 54 seconds into the extra frame, Brad Marchand scored off a broken play giving Boston the extra point and the 3-2 win.
Nashville cannot be overly-frustrated by getting a point out of this game. The improvement the team has shown in the last week is certain and getting even one point from a team that recently beat them by four goals is something of which to be proud.
The Predators begin their three-game, East Coast road trip with an OT loss. Up next, the Preds will face the Florida Panthers (15-20-6) who are set to get Ed Jovanovski and Scottie Upshall back in the lineup.