BOSTON – Claude Julien was happy with the way his short-handed Boston Bruins played against Nashville. Now, he wants to see it again in their next game.
Steve Begin scored his first goal with Boston, getting the tiebreaker at 8:33 of the third period to lift the Bruins to 3-2 victory over the Predators on Wednesday night.
“We’re standing here with another win and also standing here knowing we haven’t won two in a row,” Julien said. “We need to put together two good games in a row.”
The Bruins (4-4-0), who play at Philadelphia on Thursday night, have alternated wins and losses in their first eight games this season.
Boston, which lost Milan Lucic (broken finger) and Marc Savard (broken foot) to long-term injured reserve, traded Chuck Kobasew to Minnesota, and was also without Shawn Thornton (undisclosed injury).
Daniel Paille, acquired from Buffalo Tuesday, rookie Brad Marchand and Trent Whitfield all played their first games in a Boston uniform. Paille assisted on the winning score and Marchand set up Michael Ryder’s goal. Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston, which sent Nashville to its sixth loss in a row (0-5-1).
“It’s awesome,” said Begin, who signed with Boston as a free agent during the off-season. “Most important thing is we won the game but it’s great to get my first goal out of the way. Now, I’m going to have to think about something else. Not that I was thinking about it every day but it’s a big relief.”
Paille tried to wrap the puck around the net, it hit a defenceman’s stick and went into the slot where Begin pounced on it and beat Dan Ellis, and the Bruins held on at the end with Tim Thomas closing the door in the final seconds.
Paille said his first Bruins assist was the result of “a lucky bounce.”
Ellis said: “The puck went into a huge scrum and you just try to battle for sight. Unfortunately, I saw it a half-second too late. I saw it going by but not enough time to react to it.”
Jerred Smithson and rookie Colin Wilson, a member of Boston University’s 2009 NCAA championship team, each scored their first goal of the season for the Predators.
With the new faces and new line combinations, the Bruins slowly started playing better as the night wore on.
Boston had just killed a penalty against Derek Morris when Smithson converted from in front of Thomas at 5:55 of the opening period.
The Bruins got that goal back when Marchand, carrying the puck down the right side, made a move to the inside, the puck sliding to an open Ryder, who beat Ellis with a backhander just 26 seconds into the second period.
The Predators answered, again a short time after the Bruins killed a penalty. Thomas stopped a shot by Patric Hornqvist, but the puck popped straight in the and air and over the goaltender. It landed in the crease and Wilson stuffed it into the net.
Boston got that goal back when Zdeno Chara’s blast from the left point was stopped by Ellis, and an unguarded Bergeron slid the rebound into the net.
The goal gave Bergeron, the Bruins’ No. 1 centre with Savard out, four points in the last four games.
NOTES: The injuries to Savard and Lucic and the trade of Phil Kessel to Toronto before the start of the season leaves the Bruins without their entire top line of last year. …With Savard out, two centres, Bergeron and Begin, scored Wednesday. Wilson received his NCAA title ring at BU’s game against Notre Dame Tuesday night. … Predators’ rookie Cody Franson picked up his first NHL point when he assisted on Smithson’s goal. … Nashville, which placed Jason Arnott on injured reserve, recalled F Dave Scatchard and D Alexander Sulzer for the game, the second stop on a five-game trip. … D Dennis Wideman, who missed three games for the Bruins with a shoulder injury, returned to the lineup, and Julien said Thornton would be making the trip to Philadelphia. … The Predators won the only game played between the two teams last year, in a shootout in Nashville.