A successful team makes their own luck. Tonight in Boston, the Bruins forced the puck to bounce their way. An aggressive forecheck in the third period forced Nashville to play on their heels and turn the puck over and, with the assistance of the referee being in Shea Weber’s path to the puck, Boston capitalized on the turnover to score the game winning goal.
It was that kind of night for Nashville.
Nashville got off to a strong start in the first period with aggressive play from David Legwand as he drove the net 1 on 4. Jared Smithson capitalized by following Legwand to the net and knocking the loose puck past Tim Thomas for the 1-0 lead. Nashville received noticeably strong play from the top line of Steve Sullivan, Cal O’Reilly and J.P. Dumont as well as the entire blueline.
Nashville’s tendency to lose their edge in the second period reared its head again. It all began 26 seconds into the period when Michael Ryder of the Bruins capitalized on the puck getting tied up in the linesman’s skates allowing him to grab the puck and race past Ryan Suter to tie the game at 1. Nashville temporarily pulled back ahead 2-1 when Patric Hornqvist continued his strong play by driving hard to the net pulling Thomas to the edge of the crease. Colin Wilson trailed on the play and smartly stopped right in front of the net allowing him to tap home the rebound into an empty net. Then, at 12:38 into the period, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron scored from the side of the net when Chara’s shot wasn’t cleared tying the game again at 2 all. That score remained knotted at 2 after the second period.
The third period saw Boston assert itself on the forecheck and do a great job at keeping the puck in the Nashville end. At 8:33 into the third Boston’s hard forechecking harassed Weber and Francis Bouillon into a turnover that Steve Begin converted into a 3-2 lead. That lead would hold up for the win.
What I Liked
Patric Hornqvist continued to show why he’s one of Nashville’s top forwards to this point. He was all over the ice, battled hard in the corners and consistently put pressure on Tim Thomas by driving to the net.
I liked seeing both David Legwand and Colin Wilson contributing on the score sheet tonight. Both points were created by their driving the net. Wilson plays well with Patric Hornqvist. Legwand had a really good game with the exception of the face offs.
I thought that Alexander Sulzer played a solid game, veteran-like game for his first game this season at the NHL level.
I liked seeing Ryan Suter with the third “A” tonight.
The effort and chances generated on the first two power play opportunities are what this team needs. If they can consistently do that along with continually putting shots actually on net, they’ll begin to show some effectiveness on the power play.
Legwand is this teams best penalty killer- by far.
Great job by Jared Smithson following Legwand to the net and making all their hard work pay off. Great to see him score one with his stick instead of his backside.
I liked Crispy’s breakdown showing Suter communicating with the forwards on the ice. In truth, I wish they would do a little bit more of that kind of analysis.
What I Didn’t Like
I didn’t like the Sullivan, O’Reilly, and Dumont line at even strength. They started really strong and had a great first period. As the game wore on, however, they began to be hemmed in to the Nashville end and were on the ice for two of the goals that Boston scored. They are too small to consistently be effective.
Cody Franson had a decent game, but he did take a step back tonight from the last game. His skating difficulties were on display several times. He even had a small stretch where he was having difficulty staying on his skates with little contact.
Martin Erat continues to play poor hockey. I don’t think I can be more candid. Right now, he’s a detriment on the ice. He has the talent to turn it around, has had some success with Wilson and Ward.
Marcel Goc was just invisible tonight. However, I think a fourth line of Scatchard, Goc, and Tootoo would be really interesting to watch.
That third power play opportunity was beyond bad.
Steve Sullivan needs to have someone else bring the puck up the ice. Too many times, he’ll enter the zone with speed and get caught at the point only to turn the puck over.
Nashville continues their road trip tomorrow night in Ottawa.
About the Author: Nashville Predators Blogger, Software Engineer (C#.NET), Novice Woodworker, Southern Cook, Husband, Father of Two. You may contact me at David.R.Singleton AT gmail.com.