Sometimes some reassurance from family members is all anyone needs to break out of a rut. The Boston Bruins received just that on their mother’s trip to Nashville on Tuesday night.
The Bruins, carrying a three-game skid to the Music City, were a determined bunch from the get-go.
With their mother’s watching from one of the suites inside Bridgestone Arena. the Bruins drew first blood just 1:36 in after David Pastrnak’s slap shot found its way past Pekka Rinne for his 32nd of the season. They never looked back against a Predators squad fresh off firing coach Peter Laviolette and subsequent hiring of former Devils bench boss John Hynes.
Danton Heinen, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Wagner, David Krejci (empty-netter) and Charlie Coyle all added tallies in a solid effort from top to bottom to give the Black and Gold a much-needed 6-2 win.
Here’s what we learned from Boston’s first victory of the new decade.
The Bruins showcased their depth in a well-rounded effort
The Bruins rarely found a rhythm with all four of their lines in recent months. Even the wins — sans the victory over Washington on Dec. 23 –came via a dominant effort from the top line or a stellar outing from an individual player, like Jake DeBrusk’s two goals in the 3-2 triumph over Buffalo on Dec. 29.
All four lines gelled cohesively in Nashville as six different players donning the Spoked B lit the lamp. Sean Kuraly and Anders Bjork — in his first game on the second line — were the only Bruins forwards who didn’t find their way on the scoresheet.
Bruce Cassidy’s squad impressed beyond the scoresheet. Their attention to detail with defensive layers, wall battles, neutral zone play, shot selection, strong goaltending from Tuukka Rask (33 saves), special teams success and sticking up for one another — as seen in Zdeno Chara’s fight with Yakov Trenin following his hit on Charlie McAvoy — stood out in the well-rounded effort.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played as a team like that — assertive and on the puck throughout the game,” Bergeron told reporters postgame. “There’s going to be some breakdowns. We’re playing some good teams. Obviously it’s a great league and those points don’t come by easily. But the way we competed and the way we played, good things will happen every time if we do that.”
For all the miscues the Bruins encountered during their last month, they rarely found any issues finding their legs to start a 60-minute contest.
Pastrnak’s opening tally marked the ninth straight time that the Bruins scored first. They secured points in all but one game during that span, yet only have a 4-1-4 record to show for it.
Unlike their previous four games, including their last win over the Sabres before the new year, the Bruins built off of Pastrnak’s goal and rarely found themselves in an uncomfortable spot. Fillip Forsberg’s 5-on-3 power-play tally at 10:54 the second — on the heels of two questionable penalties assessed to Brandon Carlo (tripping) and Matt Grzelcyk (high-sticking) — marked one of the rare times the B’s had to thwart a Nashville surge.
Things didn’t escalate on this night as Rask stood tall during his busiest stretch of play, and Bergeron countered Forsberg’s tally with a timely power-play goal late in the middle stanza.
“We’ve gotten good first periods here lately,” Cassidy told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “We’ve gotten the lead, but we haven’t played better as the game went on. Tonight we were able to do that with the help from our goaltender. We got through that and then extended the lead.”
A mother’s trip to remember
The Bruins had ample reason to breathe a sigh of relief after snapping their three-game skid. But they had a special reason to enjoy this one after brining their mother’s aboard for a quick getaway.
The dedicated and proud mothers made everything possible for their kid to realize his hockey dream from a young age. Their support began with the pre-dawn wake-up calls for pee-wee practice and continues well into their professional hockey careers both on and off the ice.
Players sometimes use these road trips to bond with one another, especially early in the season when they welcome a few newcomers. The Bruins’ mothers certainly used this trip to get to know one another in an experience they won’t forget. And they had their fun celebrating a win in the process, from celebrating goals to forming a high-five line outside of the locker room postgame.
“All the sacrifices they’ve done for us and our families over the years have been tremendous,” Bergeron said to reporters. “Sometimes we don’t have a chance to thank them enough for everything they’ve done, so it’s a nice opportunity for us to be here [in Nashville] and share a few days with them. They’re obviously excited…It’s been a great few days with lots of laughs and lots of fun. So, again, we can’t thank them enough for everything that they’ve done.”
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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