Bruins roll over Predators

Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Soldout Bridgestone Arena was rocking Monday night as the Nashville Predators were trying to rally from a 3-0 deficit for the second straight game.
Two power-play goals later, the Boston Bruins had applied the silencer.
Right winger Jarome Iginla and center Carl Soderberg turned momentum around to Boston for good as it pulled away in the third period for a 6-2 win.
"We knew they came back against Montreal (Saturday) night," said Bruins center Ryan Spooner, who had three assists. "So to get that fourth goal was huge."
Nashville (16-17-4) forced overtime against the Canadiens Saturday evening before losing 4-3. It looked capable of erasing another three-goal margin when center Craig Smith tallied his second goal of the game at 3:25 of the third, cutting its deficit to 3-2.
But the Predators took minor penalties 23 seconds apart. After having too many men on the ice for the third time in the last four games, they went two men down on center Paul Gaustad's cross-check.
Camping out in front of backup goaltender Marek Mazanec (5-8-1), Iginla tapped in the pass of center David Krejci 17 seconds into a 5-on-3 for his second goal of the night at 5:01. Fifty seconds later, Soderberg wristed his fifth goal of the year by Mazanec and it was 5-2.
Soderberg's goal was emblematic of the Bruins' night. He and right wing Reilly Smith each bagged a goal and two assists to go along with Spooner's three helpers. All three have less than a season each of NHL experience.
Another fresh face, right winger Matt Fraser, tacked on a goal at 5:59 of the first period -- his second NHL marker.
"You have to be comfortable, but at the same time, you have to be ready to go," Fraser said of transitioning from the AHL to the NHL. "You have to gain the trust of the coaching staff."
While Boston improved to 25-10-2 and gave coach Claude Julien his 400th NHL win, Nashville ate its fourth straight loss in a way that visibly frustrated coach Barry Trotz.
"We had one of the best teams in the league on their heels," he said. "What angers me is we had all the momentum. But we had too many men on the ice and then took a cross-check. That's simply unacceptable."
Trotz's other major concern is the team's goaltending situation. Mazanec and Monday night's starter, Carter Hutton, have had some nice moments since Pekka Rinne (bacterial infection in hip) went down two months ago, but have struggled badly in the last four games.
Hutton gave up two goals on four shots before being pulled after Fraser's goal, a rebound off Soderberg's shot from behind the blue line that Hutton failed to control. It was the third straight game in which Trotz had to hook his starter.
"They're trying as hard as they can," Trotz said of Hutton and Mazanec. "Right now, they're going through a little of a dry spell."
The Bruins scored on their first shot of the game as Iginla deflected defenseman Zdeno Chara's wrister from the blue line through Hutton's legs at 1:16. Following Fraser's goal, Smith converted Soderberg's pass into a power-play tally at 10:47 of the first.
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask (19-8-2) notched 32 saves as his team improved to 7-2-0 in their last nine games.
Left winger Brad Marchand closed out the scoring at 15:54 with his eighth goal of the year.
NOTES: Nashville C Filip Forsberg has been loaned to Team Sweden to play in the 2014 World Junior Championships, which start later this week in Sweden. The 19-year-old Forsberg had a goal and four assists in 12 games with the Predators before being sidelined with an upper-body injury Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh. ... Boston's power-play goal in the first period Monday night came on its 98th opportunity with the extra man -- the fewest of any NHL squad. ... Nashville D Seth Jones, who sat out the last two periods and overtime of Saturday night's loss to Montreal after taking a puck off the face, was back in action Monday night. He drew an assist on Smith's first goal at 11:35 of the second period, the Predators' eighth power-play marker in six games. ... Bruins LW Shawn Thornton served game 8 of his 15-game suspension for his match penalty on Dec. 7 in Pittsburgh on the Penguins' Brooks Orpik. Thornton is eligible to return on Jan. 11 in San Jose.

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