The Nashville Predators made a coaching change by replacing head coach, Peter Laviolette along with his assistant, Kevin McCarthy out of nowhere mid-season for John Hynes formerly of the New Jersey Devils. Laviolette should be given some recognition as he led the Predators to the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals, followed up with two division titles and the Presidents Trophy. The Predators came into this game with a 19 - 15 - 7 record with 44 points, second to last in the Central Division. Predators have now lost 5 of their last 6 games, one being the Winter Classic where they allowed 3 goals in the third against the Dallas Stars. The Boston Bruins with a record of 24 - 8 - 11 with 61 points have also been coming off losses at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Edmonton Oilers. Tukka Rask and Pekka Rinne both entered this game with 14 wins, Rinne had more shutouts but Rask had allowed less goals thus having a better save percentage. The Bruins came out at the Bridgestone Area with a burst of energy unlike the previous games they played and made a strong statement to the rest of the league with a 6 - 2 victory.
Just 14 seconds into the game, Brad Marchand and Viktor Arvidsson both were penalized, Marchand for cross-checking and Arvidsson for embellishment. This will lead to David Pastrnak scoring his 32nd goal this season as he ripped one glove side of Rinne for the 1 - 0 early Bruins lead, the goal was assisted by Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk. Both teams continued to be very physical like many of us expected, Rinne played strong this period but Rask played lights out on the other end making many key saves. Rask was well prepared to stop anything coming his way, Sean Kuraly served a boarding penalty, Rask faced a flurry of offensive attacks during the Predators power play, first shot by Roman Josi, then back to back shots by Matt Duchene, only to be denied by the mighty Bruins netminder. The Bruins were defensive minded by blocking shot after shot as they racked up 15 total for the game.
It looked as if the Predators were going to tie the game early in the second period as Nick Bonino scored a goal at the same time McAvoy’s skate knocked the net off its mooring. After review, Bruce Cassidy challenged the call and after an additional review the referees did nullify the goal. The Bruins were called for too many men on the ice but Rask again came up huge as the Predators leading point scorer, Josi was denied not once but twice. Danton Heinen sniped one past Rinne for the 2 - 0 Bruins lead, Charlie Coyle with fancy stick work found Grzelcyk at the blue line who made the smart pass to Heinen. Shortly after, the Bruins committed two penalties 1:21 apart, it wouldn't take long for the Predators to make it a game as Filip Forsberg blew one by Rask assisted by Duchane and Josi. With this assist, Josi now has an 11-game point streak which is the longest by any Predators defenseman in franchise history. Now it was the Predators turn as Kyle Turris was called for too many men on the ice so the Bruins regained the 2 goal lead. A no-look pass by Jake DeBrusk to Patrice Bergeron who cranked it top shelf.
The Bruins clearly in demand as Chris Wagner score for a 4-1 lead, Torey Krug and Par Lindholm credited for the assists. Midway through the period, the Predators were looking flat when Yakov Trenin made a cheap shot on MacAvoy only to have Zdeno Chara step in to defend his teammate. The third period was all penalty-happy between both teams. Mikael Granlund’s goal was assisted by Mattias Ekholm and Forsberg after he poked away at the puck as it eventually trickled by Rask. David Krejci would squash any hopes of a miracle comeback as he scored an empty-netter with under a minute to go for the 5 - 2 lead. If you thought the Bruins were done scoring, think again as Coyle chalked one up on a wide open net assisted by Brent Richie and Heinen with 32 seconds left. It must have been disappointing for the Predators fans not to get a win in Hynes debut, do they have any chance of being a playoff contender with their recent coaching change? Believe it or not, Nashville can still make the playoffs despite being second to last in their division, if Hynes can figure out how to bring his team together to believe they can have a spot in the wild-card they just might pull another surprising season like they did in 2017. As for the Bruins, what a nice way to snap a three game losing streak while their moms were in attendance at the Bridgestone Arena. It was amazing to see how the four lines gelled beautifully together and Rask who played with ease and confidence with 33 saves on the night. Perhaps it was their moms who re-energized the team to play like their current record reflects.