NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Recent trends suggested a Boston Bruins win Thursday night, but the Nashville Predators didn’t receive that memo.
Two first-period goals and the 39th shutout of goalie Pekka Rinne’s career supplied a 2-0 win for Nashville at Bridgestone Arena.
In upping his record to 21-18-8, Rinne stopped 29 shots for his third shutout of the season. Rinne entered the game with a .902 save percentage, but he was sharp, making his best save in the second period’s last 30 seconds when he stoned right winger David Pastrnak on a point-blank chance from the slot.
It was just the third home win for the Predators (27-21-10) since the calendar flipped to 2016, upping their lead over Minnesota for the last Western Conference wild-card spot to four points, pending the outcome of the Wild’s game in Edmonton.
Boston (31-21-6) fell to 3-2-0 on its six-game road trip that ends Saturday night in Dallas. The Bruins absorbed only their seventh regulation loss in 29 road contests this season.
Right winger Craig Smith put Nashville ahead at 2:51 of the first, pouncing on a loose puck in the slot and roofing a wrister over goalie Tuukka Rask’s right shoulder for his 13th goal of the season and second in as many games.
Left winger Filip Forsberg scored his sixth goal in six games at 14:37 of the first, jumping on the rebound of a shot by defenseman Mattias Ekholm for his 20th goal.
The Bruins had plenty of chances in the third period, earning three power plays, including one at 16:31 as Ekholm was called for cross checking. Going six-on-four for almost the entire two minutes, Boston couldn’t convert, continuing its recent incompetence with the man advantage.
Since Jan. 25, when they tallied a pair of power-play markers against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Bruins are 1-for-36. They are 0-for-19 with an extra man during the road trip.
Rask made 22 saves but fell to 21-17-5.
NOTES: RW Loui Eriksson’s OT goal on Tuesday night in Columbus made the Bruins the first NHL team this season with three 20-goal scorers. C Patrice Bergeron and LW Brad Marchand were the first two. … Nashville LW Gabriel Bourque, out since Nov. 27 with an upper-body injury, was assigned to Milwaukee of the AHL on a long-term injury loan. … Boston scratched Cs Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot and D Joe Morrow. Nashville scratches were D Petter Granberg and C Cody Bass.
Rangers 4, Maple Leafs 2
TORONTO — Center Derek Stepan scored late in the third period and the New York Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Thursday night.
Center Derick Brassard added two goals for New York, one into an empty net. Center Mats Zuccarello also scored for the Rangers (33-19-6), who bounced back from a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, and added two assists.
Center Colin Greening tied the game for Toronto late in the third period and right winger Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau scored in the first period for the Maple Leafs (20-27-9).
The Maple Leafs lost center Leo Komarov late in the first period when he was given match penalty for an elbow to the head of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who was kept out of the remainder of the game for precautionary reasons.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 16 shots in the Toronto goal.
Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta made 35 saves, some of them superb.
The Maple Leafs failed to score on five attempts on the power play.
The Maple Leafs tied the game at 17:30 of the third period after a scramble around the Rangers’ net on the first goal of the season by Greening.
The Rangers came right back with a goal from Stepan, his 13th of the season, at 18:29 on a blast from the left faceoff circle on a pass from Zuccarello.
Brassard scored on an empty net at 19:40, his 22nd goal of the season. Zuccarello picked up an assist.