Power play goals must’ve been on the Boston Bruins’ Christmas wish list this year as three man advantage tallies helped the black and gold to a relatively easy 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators last night in the Music City. Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner all had three point efforts and Tuukka Rask stopped 32 Nashville shots in the Boston net to earn his nineteenth victory of the season.
Someone should’ve also probably told Nashville starter Carter Hutton that the Christmas break didn’t start until after the game, as he allowed three goals in the first ten minutes of the game before being pulled, including a gift to Bruins forward Matt Fraser after Hutton misplayed an easy dump-in by Soderberg. Jarome Iginla and Smith also added goals as part of the outburst, Smith’s being the first power play strike of the night for his twelfth goal of the season, now tied for the team lead.
After Nashville’s Craig Smith scored mid-way through the second and then again to start the third period to make the game interesting at 3-2, the Bruin power play again delivered. With the black and gold on a lengthy 5-on-3 after consecutive Predator penalties, Iginla hammered home his second of the night batting a David Krejci saucer pass (almost certainly not intended for him) out of mid-air and through the pads of Nashville fill-in Marek Mazanec, who had taken over for Hutton.
Then, just 49 seconds later, Soderberg put the dagger in by chipping a Spooner pass through Mazanec’s pads again, putting the B’s comfortably ahead at 5-2. The assist was Spooner’s third point of the night, his first multi-point game in the NHL.
Brad Marchand would add one more strike with four minutes to go to close things out, giving the B’s their second win in a row and keeping them within striking distance of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the East, just three points behind with two games in hand.
- Don’t look now but Reilly Smith is now second on the Bruins in scoring with 28 points, including 12 goals which ties him for team best with Milan Lucic. He has seven points in his last five games and continues to show both consistency and a finishing touch when it comes to scoring, as five of those seven points were goals. Oh yea, and he can actually play a two-way game.
- Do teams not scout the Bruins second power play unit or something? Smith and Carl Soderberg combined for a goal for the second game in a row on literally the exact same play, with Soderberg feeding Smith with a cross crease pass at the far post which he easily deposited into the back of the net. Don’t get me wrong it’s great to see and I’ll take it as many times as teams will give it to us, but it’s sort of laughable.
- Once again, Ryan Spooner has fans clamoring for a permanent Boston residence for the 21 year old, as his speed and creativity has been on full display the last couple games. He was flying last night and was pretty much solely responsible for Soderberg’s goal, as he carried the puck almost the full length of the ice and then gave a tape-to-tape pass to the Swede for the easy goal. He’s had flashes every time he’s been up and it will certainly make things interesting when the B’s start to get healthy again.
- Congrats to Matt Fraser who scored his first goal in a Bruins uniform last night, firing the aforementioned Hutton giveaway into the top corner to put the Bruins up 2-0.
- Adam McQuaid returned for his first game since November 30th last night, playing 19:22. Oh yea, he also wasted no-time in getting himself back into the swing of things (this happened just 2:40 into the game):
The Apparently Impossible to Defend Soderberg-to-Smith Combo