Now for something completely different.
For the first time in weeks, the Boston Bruins will not be facing a team among the Eastern Conference’s elite (or even the West’s) or a team trying to impress a new coach. Nor will they be battling a team that plays in a hockey-mad city in front of rabid hockey fans.
But as they head into a clash with Nashville trying to stop just their second three-game losing streak of the season, the Bruins know they’ll still have a tough task on their hands. Led by a pair of solid goaltenders — Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne — the Predators allow just 2.78 goals per game (13th in the NHL) and their penalty kill ranks fifth in the league overall and second at home.
So playing on the second night of a back-to-back situation, the onus will really be on the Bruins to keep it simple and stay patient. Individual players will have to be careful not to try to do it all themselves. As the third period in New Jersey wound down Friday night, you could see some guys pressing, some thinking they could take on the entire Devils team. Only team hockey, “Bruins hockey” is going to be able to break the club from its slump.
Season series: The Bruins and Predators are meeting for the first and only time this season. Last season, the clubs met once — a 3-1 Boston win at TD Banknorth Garden. The last time they met in Nashville, the Preds prevailed, 5-0, Dec. 30, 2006.
What they’re writing: John Glennon of The Tennessean gets the home fans and readers ready for a match-up with the team with the NHL’s best record.
Nashville player to watch: Does Shea Weber hold a grudge? Remember it was Weber who would’ve won the NHL Hardest Shot contest at All-Star weekend in Montreal last month had Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara not closed the event with an NHL record-breaking shot. The Preds defenseman would undoubtedly like to get these two points as a consolation prize. An emerging Norris Trophy candidate, Weber ranks fourth on the Preds with 33 points (14-19) and is a plus-4 on the season.