By: Joe Todd | Follow me on Twitter @heyjoetodd
I will be honest, I have not paid enough attention to the Predators this year. The last time the Bruins and Preds faced off was December 2nd, where Swayman had a 42 save shutout in a 2 – 0 win at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
During that game the Bruins were without Marchand serving his suspension for slew-footing Ekman-Larsson, and Cassidy who was in COVID protocol. At the time, the Predators were 12-10-1, and since have exploded to the top of the Western Conference standings with a record of 24-12-2. However, the Bruins came away with a W after a hard-hitting, and highly entertaining overtime thriller. The Bruins win streak now stands at five games.
The curious case of Charlie Coyle
Charlie Coyle can protect the puck better than just about anyone on the Bruins. However, he seems to be lacking the confidence to turn that strength into offense. In the first period he had an offensive zone entry where he made a nice dangle that broke the ankles of Phillipe Meyers. But instead of taking it to the net around the fallen defenseman, he peeled off towards the boards. Would like to the see hulking center drive the puck to the net instead of deferring to the defense as in this case here.
Since the new year, and the lineup changes, Charlie Coyle has only two points in eight games since returning to the third line. While the third line of DeBrusk – Coyle – Steen has been good, I believe that Coyle needs a bit more help on his wings from players that are not a winger with notorious consistency issues and a public trade request, as well as a rookie with 13 career NHL games. Help for CC will need to come outside the organization, hopefully via the DeBrusk trade, because the in-house answers of Foligno and Frederic should not be the answer.
I thought Reilly had one of his best games in a Bruins uniform this afternoon. He made some great breakout passes, and his offensive instincts were excellent, often jumping up in the rush and getting his shots on goal. It was this ability to join the rush where he took a wicked cross-ice feed from Haula, and out-waited Saros to pot his career-high fourth goal on the backhand. He had a chance for his second of the night, jumping down from the point, taking the puck to the net, and trying to pot one high short side. Reilly would finish the game with one goal, four shots, and two hits in 21:10 of ice time.
Sniping on Saros
It appears that the Bruins had a certain scouting report on Nashville goalie Juuse Saros. The 26-year old goaltender from Finland measures up at 5’11, about three inches shorter than the league average of 6’2 according to howtheyplay.com. As such, the Bruins went up high on the Predators netminder with both Smith and Marchand sniping high glove side, right by his left ear. It got me pumped up on a Saturday afternoon to see the return of Smith’s “Superman” celebration.
Todd’s and Ends
What a deft touch by *ALL-STAR* Patrice Bergeron to get the primary assist on Craig Smith’s top-shelf snipe.
The penalty kill was excellent tonight against the league’s fourth-best powerplay. With Forbort in the box for fighting, Lewington and Vaakananeinen were relied upon to kill Carlo’s crosschecking penalty.
Vaaaakananeinen. His name grows with every assist. That is now four assists in five games since his call-up. Made a great defensive play at one end, then broke the puck out on Hall’s overtime winner.
Forbort returned after missing three games in COVID Protocol. He played just under 17 minutes, and had a nice little fight against Michael McCarron.
Roman Josi shot the puck so hard that a save off Ullmark’s shoulder ended up back in the Predators’ zone. He is about as fun to watch as he is handsome.
See you all on Tuesday where the Bruins will hope to keep the win streak alive against Carolina!
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