The Boston Bruins gave a valiant effort in the third period to try to force overtime Monday night, but the Nashville Predators held on for a 5-3 win at Bridgestone Arena to even the season series at a game apiece.
Boston wasn’t able to overcome a poor start that resulted in a 4-0 deficit in the second period. Bruins backup goalie Anton Khudobin, who entered the night with a 7-0-2 record this season, suffered his first loss in regulation.
The Preds improve to 17-7-3 with the victory, while the Bruins fall to 12-9-4.
Here’s how it all went down.
PREDS STRIKE FIRST
Predators forward Craig Smith scored his 10th goal of the season just 1:26 into the game to give Nashville a 1-0 lead. Kyle Turris and Alexei Emelin picked up assists on the goal. Nashville entered Monday 11-2-2 when scoring first.
Khudobin prevented the Preds from doubling their lead in the first period with a tremendous left-to-right save on Nashville defenseman Roman Josi.
The Bruins nearly fell behind 2-0 again near the end of the period after Kyle Turris made a move toward the Boston net after a Torey Krug turnover, but the Preds forward ripped a shot off the crossbar.
Another poor defensive decision gave the Predators a chance to increase their lead in the final minute of the first period and Smith took advantage. He beat Khudobin on a breakaway for his second goal of the game with just 18 seconds remaining in the frame. Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm earned assists on the tally.
ROUGH SECOND-PERIOD START
The Predators were all over the Bruins to start the second frame and scored two goals, which forced B’s coach Bruce Cassidy to pull Khudobin and bring in No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask.
Nick Bonino started the damage with a goal 2:15 into the period that was set up by Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson. It was Bonino’s fifth goal of the campaign.
Fiala earned his second point of the game when he scored at 4:10 of the period to give Nashville a commanding 4-0 advantage.
The B’s finally got on the scoreboard when rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy scored on the power play at 10:14 of the second period. It was McAvoy’s fourth goal of the season, and it was assisted by Danton Heinen and David Krejci. The goal also extended the 2016 first-round draft pick’s point streak to three games.
MOUNTING A COMEBACK
The Bruins scored two goals in a 1:15 span six minutes into the final period to trim the deficit to 4-3 and force Preds coach Peter Laviolette to call a timeout.
Zdeno Chara got it started when a shot from the point found its way through traffic and past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. David Backes and Riley Nash assisted on the Bruins captain’s third goal of the season.
Soon after it was David Pastrnak scoring his team-leading 14th goal of the campaign. It was set up by his linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
It didn’t take long for the Predators to answer the Bruins’ two-goal flurry. Shortly after taking their timeout, the Preds went back up by two when Filip Forsberg’s 14th goal of the season put Nashville ahead 5-3. Josi earned the lone assist.
The Bruins return to TD Garden for a Thursday matchup with the Arizona Coyotes. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.