What we learned: Defensive mistakes, early deficit too much to overcome
Just over four minutes into the second period of Tuesday’s loss to the Nashville Predators, the Bruins found themselves in a deep 4-0 hole. Despite eventually cutting the Predators’ lead to one, the Bruins couldn’t get that extra push, ultimately falling to the Predators, 5-3.
Making his first start since beating the Penguins on November 24th, Anton Khudobin had a rough night. Sure, the multiple breakdowns in front of him did not help, but Khudobin made just 10 saves on 14 shots during his first regulation loss of the season.
Here is what we learned as the Bruins’ valiant comeback bid fell short in the Music City:
Bruins struggle in front of Khudobin, improve in front of Tuukka Rask:
After allowing Kevin Fiala to extend the Nashville lead to four, head coach Bruce Cassidy pulled the plug on Khudobin, replacing him with Rask. With Rask in net, the Bruins looked like a completely new team.
After the goalie change, the Bruins scored three unanswered goals before Filip Forsberg secured the win less than a minute after David Pastrnak cut the deficit to one.
The opening 25 minutes Tuesday night were arguably the Bruins’ worst of the season. In a game of two different tales, the Bruins wound up outshooting the Predators, 40-25.
A night to forget for Torey Krug:
It will happen from time to time. Night’s players will quickly want to forget about. For Krug, Tuesday was that kind of night.
A pair of costly Krug mistakes in the opening frame led to a pair of goals by Craig Smith. From leaving a streaking Smith all alone for the game’s first goal early in the first to poor positioning on a two-on-one leading to Smith’s second tally late in the opening stanza, Krug had a period to forget.
Krug finished the night a minus-1 in 20:53 of ice time.
Brad Marchand stays hot, David Backes picks up 500th point:
Since returning from an upper body injury against the Lightning six days ago, Marchand has not missed a beat. With an assist on Pastrnak’s 13th goal of the season, Marchand now has five points (one goal, four assists) since his return. The trio of Marchand, Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron has unquestionably been the Bruins’ best forward group.
When Zdeno Chara’s bouncing puck found its way to the back of the Predators net, the goal meant a little more than just the Bruins’ second of the game. It also registered as Backes’ 500th career point.
Even more special was his dad in attendance as Backes and the rest of the Bruins had their fathers in the stands as part of the annual dad’s trip.
“It’s a special thing. In this league to be able to play multiple years, to have 500 points is an honor,” Backes told the media postgame. “It’s a testament to a lot of the guys I played with that make me look good.”