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Predators Vs. Bruins Plus/Minus: Extending The Wrong Kind Of Streak

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Photo of Cody Glass, left, and Hampus Lindholm by John Russell/Nashville Predators

For the first time since Jan. 27-31, the Nashville Predators are riding a losing streak of three or more games.

And this coming off the heels of an 18-game point streak, no less.

Against the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, the Predators held the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins at bay for two-and-a-half periods before Charlie Coyle broke a scoreless tie with 6:42 left in the final period. Boston added an insurance goal and an empty-netter minutes later to preserve the 3-0 win.

With every game you take the good with the bad, so here’s what went right and what didn’t during the Predators shutout loss to the Bruins on Tuesday.

(-) The play that led to Boston’s shorthanded go-ahead goal

If you want to point to one sole reason for the Predators’ loss on Tuesday, this play is it.

Nashville’s power play went 0-for-4, but aside from not scoring itself, one of the worst things the team did was give up a short-handed goal late in the game.

The play began with a lost faceoff in the neutral zone, following by a Linus Ullmark clear from behind his own net. The puck shot right at Roman Josi, who couldn’t make contact with it and keep it onside, and bounced right to Brad Marchand.

Ryan McDonagh did a poor job of cutting Marchand off along the boards, giving him enough time to pivot and fire a pass to a streaking Coyle, who was a good two to three steps ahead of Tommy Novak. As Coyle crashed the net, Novak couldn’t keep or put any pressure on him as he fired a shot past Saros for a way-too-easy goal.

 

(+) Saros kept the high-scoring (mostly) Bruins at bay

Most nights, allowing just two goals on 31 shots is good enough to win a game. But on Tuesday, Saros got no help from his own offense and he could only hold the Bruins off the scoreboard for so long.

Saros held David Pastrnak, who has 46 goals and 104 points, without a goal (he did add an empty-netter later in the third period), and he limited Marchand, Coyle and Pavel Zacha — Boston’s second, third- and fourth-leading scorers, respectively — to zero points though 54 minutes and change.

(-) Power(less) play

Not only were the Predators 0-for-4 on the man advantage, but they mustered just three total shots on those power-play opportunities and didn’t make Ullmark work particularly hard.

Nashville had no rhythm to any of its PP opportunities, and there seemed to be no semblance of preparation or play design. Most of the time, the Predators PP units looked slow and out of sorts — something head coach Andrew Brunette addressed after the loss.

“There’s games we get slow for some reason and it’s been a constant discussion — move pieces in and out a little bit,” Brunette said. “But it’s just not flowing all that well, and for a big chunk of the year.”

(+) Lauzon closing in on hits record

Lauzon picked up five more hits against Boston, giving him 347 hits with seven games left in the regular season. He’s only 35 away from Matt Martin’s single-season NHL record of 382, and he needs to average 5.14 hits per game over that span to break the record.

(-) No goal support for Saros

Saros made several timely saves in big moments, and the game could have easily been 2-0 or 3-0 heading into the third period. The problem was he was left holding the floodgates closed by himself.

The Predators had some chances but couldn’t cash in on them, and as sharp as Saros was all game, it felt like it was only a matter of time before the Bruins found the back of the net.

Tuesday was the 29th time Saros allowed two or fewer goals, and it was only the second time he took a loss in those games.

Follow Michael Gallagher on X/Twitter @MGsports_

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