Just when it looked like the Nashville Predators were going to act like the Grinch and steal an early Christmas win from the Boston Bruins on Monday night, the Bruins power play wrapped up a few presents for their fans.
The Bruins went 3 for 3 on the power play, including two goals in the span of 49 seconds in the third period, to best the Predators 6-2. Nashville looked to have the momentum in the game, coming back from a quick 3-0 hole to make it a one goal game early in the third before the Bruins capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play, and then scoring again to put the game out of reach.
Jarome Iginla had two goals (including the 5-on-3 goal in the third), Ryan Spooner had his first three assist game of his career, and Matt Fraser scored his first goal as a member of the Bruins. Tuukka Rask picked up his 19th win of the season, stopping 32 of 34 shots on the night. Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith each had a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who took over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with the win.
Carter Hutton started in net for the Predators, but was pulled just six minutes into the game after the Bruins scored twice in their first four shots on goal. Jarome Iginla got the scoring started just 1:16 into the first period after Hutton misplayed a puck behind his net. The puck went past the Nashville goalie, onto the stick of Milan Lucic, who found Zdeno Chara for a quick shot at the point which was tipped in by Iginla in front of the net. It was Iginla's ninth goal on the year.
The Bruins capitalized on another mistake by Hutton to take a 2-0 lead. Carl Soderberg dumped the puck into the Nashville end, which should have been an easy play for Hutton. Instead, the puck ended up squirting out in front of the net on a rebound, where Matt Fraser picked it up and scored for his first goal as a Boston Bruin. The two misplays by Hutton led to him being replaced by Marek Mazanec, who stopped 25 of 29 shots in his 54 minutes of action.
After a hooking penalty by Nashville rookie Seth Jones, the Bruins struck for their first power play goal just past the midway point of the first period to take a 3-0 lead. Carl Soderberg found Reilly Smith for his 12th goal of the year, which ties Smith with Milan Lucic for the team lead in goals scored. Smith has seven goals and four assists in his last nine games.
Craig Smith scored twice for the Predators, once on the power play in the second period and once early in the third to cut a three goal lead down to one. After the Bruins struck for two power play goals, Brad Marchand capped the scoring with his third goal in the last three games.
The Bruins have the next three days off for the holidays before playing a home-and-home set with the Ottawa Senators on Friday and Saturday night.