The Predators are coming off of a tough overtime loss to the Dallas Stars while the Bruins last contest resulted in a 2-1 win over Columbus. There should be a hint of playoff atmosphere tonight as both teams fight to solidify their places in the standings.
The Boston Bruins
The Bruins started the season much in the same way they ended last year's: alternating winning and losing in a way that kept them from being horrible, but also kept them from gaining any traction. That's seemed to fade over the past several weeks. They are 6-3-1 in their last ten games and are holding down second in the Atlantic with a one-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings.
The Bruins have been surprisingly efficient on offense this season. They rank fourth in the league in total goals scored (174) and are getting some great scoring depth along with this as well. They have five players that have scored forty plus points this year, and three players that have scored at least twenty goals on the year. The offensive charge is being led by no other than Patrice Bergeron. They are also getting some excellent production from the other big guns as well, in Loui Eriksson, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand. Marchand had a seven-game goal streak snapped against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, but scored eight goals and 11 points in the span. Overall, he has 13 goals in his last 14 games.
It will be interesting to see what moves the Bruins will make with the trade deadline coming up soon. Eriksson and Krejci's names have been thrown around in potential trades, but both of those guys are important cogs to the team. It's hard to believe that losing either of those guys will make your roster better, unless you are getting some young, ridiculously talented forward in return.
The Nashville Predators
There are a lot of good things that came from the Preds loss on Monday night to the Stars. The Predators are at least back to playing competitive hockey, which is a great sign as the playoffs close in.
Another good thing for the Preds is that they are starting to get some secondary scoring. Calle Jarnkrok has been playing phenomenal on the first line with Ryan Johansen and James Neal. He has really benefited from playing with players of their caliber and, to his credit, has definitely taken advantage of his opportunity.
It also looks like Filip Forsberg has returned to form. Forsberg has been scoring consistently as of late, and has really kept Nashville in some of these games lately. Five goals in the past five games is essentially a quarter of his output for the entire season. With Forsberg on the second line, it has really given the Predators some scoring depth. Now if only we can get that third line going.
Pekka Rinne is getting the start against Boston tonight, and it shouldn't be a surprise. Yes, Carter Hutton has played very well this year, but unless there's an injury or Rinne tanks far below a level we've ever seen from him, the Finnish netminder is still the starter. That doesn't mean that splitting games in a 2:1 ratio is out of the question from here on out, though.
Consistency at the goalie position has been the Achilles heel for Nashville this season. So regardless of who is in net, they Predators need to play well in front of them.
Sights And Sounds
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