Earlier this afternoon, the NHL suspended Bruins forward Brad Marchand for a hit to the head he delivered to R.J. Umberger of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. The play did not result in a penalty. The length of Marchand's suspension is two games, a bit of a controversial ruling. However, with the league cracking down on concussions and hits to the head, the league is making an early example out of Marchand and rightfully so.
Tonight's game for Boston was in Nashville against the Predators. This is a team that the Bruins rarely see during the regular season. In fact, the Bruins have not won in Nashville since March of 2004. The Predators are only one point out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. As for the Bruins, they are ahead of Montreal in the Northeast Division by four points and they are breathing down their necks. So this game had a certain level of significance for both teams.
Boston got off to a fast start when Tyler Seguin (BOS) scored his 11th goal of the season less than two minutes into the game. Rich Peverley and Tomas Kaberle had the assists. Several minutes later, Sergei Kostitsyn, arguably the best offensive threat the Predators have, scored his 17th goal of the season to tie the game at one. This goal came about as a result of the Bruins failing to clear the zone effectively. Despite that setback, defenseman Adam McQuaid had a very strong period using his size and strength to make some effective plays.
The Bruins began the second period on a power play that resulted from a 5 minute major elbowing penalty on Partic Hornqvist. Boston had a couple quality chances but Pekka Rinne (NSH) shut down every opportunity during the five minute power play. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask was matching Rinne save for save until Colin Wilson gave Nashville a 2-1 lead. Rask needs to do a better job of protecting the strong side of a play. David Krejci (BOS) put in a rebound shot from Nathan Horton to tie the game at two after two periods.
The third period was an exciting one. This was fast-paced hockey at its best. Patrice Bergeron scored his 22nd of the season to put Boston on top 3-2. Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder had the assists. The lead was short lived when David Legwand scored his 12th of the season as the Bruins got caught in a line change. Tuukka Rask made two inital stops and Steve Kampfer laid out in the net to try and prevent the goal but to no evail. For the second consecutive game, the Bruins will play overtime to decide the game.
In the overtime, Kampfer got called for a holding penalty and Boston had to play four on three for the final two minutes of the overtime...do you see the foreshadowing? We all know what happened next. Shea Weber (NSH) scored the winning goal in overtime to give the Predators the 4-3 win. Zdeno Chara got the better of Weber in the hardest shot competition at the NHL All-Star break, but Weber got the best of Chara and the Bruins tonight.
Gold Star: Adam McQuaid...nothing he did tonight will show up on the stat sheet. His play beyond the stat sheet was solid tonight. He won lose puck battles and played solid along the boards. With Andrew Ference returning from injury soon, every defender will have to earn their time and tonight McQuaid did just that.
Black Star: Steve Kampfer...why would he take that holding penalty in the overtime to put Nashville on the power play? Easily avoidable. What happened to funamentals?
The Bruins will be in Toronto on Saturday to take on the Maple Leafs. Will we see Tim Thomas in net again? Lets hope so.