BOSTON — The Bruins continued their win streak with a thrilling 4-3 overtime win against the Predators on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
Boston improved to 22-11-2, while Nashville fell to 24-12-3.
Check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
The line changes have worked.
It’s been two weeks since head coach Bruce Cassidy bumped David Pastrnak from the first to second line to play with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula and Craig Smith up to the first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. The B’s have gotten their best play from Smith and Pastrnak this season.
But more than the top two lines, the secondary scoring also has been prominent since the new year. It’s clear the changes weren’t just something that worked for a game or two, but rather something that looks like has been a game-changer for Boston.
The defense wasn’t perfect Saturday, but it was nice to see Urho Vaakanainen — playing on the top defense pairing alongside Charlie McAvoy — play with confidence and bring the puck to the net. With Matt Grzelcyk still in protocol, some new faces in the lineup while others remain in COVID-19 protocol and McAvoy a little banged up, we know the defense wasn’t at its best.
At the end of the day, Nashville is a very, very tough team to play against, but Boston kept up nicely and made TD Garden feel like it was watching playoff hockey in January.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Marchand continues to play at an elite level — broken nose and all — and that continued Saturday when he scored goal No. 20 of the season in the third period. Marchand was elbowed by Roman Josi in the second frame that went uncalled and he had to get his broken nose tended to once again. It’s criminal Marchand isn’t an All-Star this year, but at least he isn’t too bothered by it.
His goal also marked his 20th of the season, meaning Marchand now has nine straight seasons of at least 20 tallies.
— Not only did Mike Reilly score a beauty of backhand goal that showcased just how patient he can be with the puck, he also made his presence known by being all over the ice for the B’s on Saturday. The defenseman never was afraid to shoot the puck if he saw an open shooting lane last season, but kind of got away from that. He seems to be doing that again and then some.
— The Bruins don’t win this game without Hall, who scored the game-winner in overtime on a greasy goal that surely will make team president Cam Neely and Cassidy happy.
— We also have to give an honorable mention to Linus Ullmark and Juuse Saros. Both goalies made some incredible saves and kept this game close for the entirety of it. Ullmark really shined in the second period when the B’s spent much of those 20 minutes in the defensive zone, while Saros made some big stops in the third period. In a game like this, it’s a shame one of them had to be handed the loss.
The Bruins were -155 to win according to DraftKings Sportsbooks, with the Predators pegged at +135. A $100 bet on Nashville would have made you $135, while a $155 bet on Boston would have sent you home with $100.
If you were feeling risky, though, and took Craig Smith at +1500 to be the first goal scorer of the game, well then you had yourself a pretty nice Saturday.
UP NEXT ON NESN
The Bruins are back in action Tuesday night when they welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to TD Garden. Boston will retire No. 22 in honor of Willie O’Ree in a pregame ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Puck drop is set for 7:20 p.m. on NESN.