NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Predators finally got a win in overtime.
Just when they needed it, too.
Shea Weber scored a power-play goal with 1:23 left in overtime, and the Predators beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 Thursday night, getting two crucial points to stay just outside the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Steven Kampfer was penalized for holding Mike Fisher 2:59 into overtime. Weber scored off a pass from Ryan Suter and Nashville won for the first time in overtime this season. The Predators’ previous six victories past regulation all came in the shootout.
“Overtime has not been kind to the Nashville Predators, so that was huge for us,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “It was a huge two points. You talk about a character win.”
Nashville won for the third time in four games.
“We definitely needed that,” Nashville centre Colin Wilson said. “With how close the race is, every point counts. So to get that extra one was a big deal for us.”
David Legwand’s goal tied it at 10:56 of the third period, and he also had an assist on the game winner. Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn each had a goal and an assist. Patric Hornqvist got a game misconduct late in the first period for elbowing Tyler Seguin.
Patrice Bergeron put Boston up 3-2 with his goal 1:42 into the third. Seguin and David Krejci also scored for Boston.
The Bruins were playing the first of two games with centre Brad Marchand suspended by the NHL for an elbow to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets centre R.J. Umberger. They now are 1-2-3, having lost five of the last six.
“We have to get sharper in our decision making because right now it is becoming too costly for us,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
This game featured two top candidates for the Vezina Trophy in goalies Tim Thomas of Boston and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. Thomas came in with the league’s best save percentage and goals against average with Rinne second in both categories.
But Thomas sat while backup Tuukka Rask played in the Bruins’ first trip to Nashville since Feb. 14, 2009. Rask lost for only the second time in his past seven games, while Rinne stopped a big shot by Zdeno Chara in overtime to keep the Predators in the game.
“Peks today was spectacular,” Trotz said. “He kept us in there all game, and that’s why I think he’s a Vezina and a Hart candidate.”
The Bruins beat Rinne first as Seguin scored on a wrister that beat the goalie over his glove at 1:50 of the first period. Nashville tied it up at 7:53 when Kostitsyn got the puck at the edge of the right circle and wristed it past Rask, who had been at the front edge of the crease blocking shots.
Boston got a big advantage when Hornqvist headed to the locker room with the game misconduct that appeared on replay to show Hornqvist hitting him with his shoulder. Nashville killed off the penalty, and an official would not talk with a pool reporter about the hit after the game.
Seguin hadn’t seen the replay after the game. He said he saw Hornqvist coming and braced for a hit.
“Then I felt something, and it kind of hit my ear,” Seguin said.
Trotz said everyone in the NHL from commissioner Gary Bettman down are more sensitive to protecting players from hits to the head. He said sometimes a play is just a hockey play.
“We have the advantage of watching it in slow motion, and we have the advantage of watching it numerous times,” Trotz said. “he has to make a split-second call, and angles are everything for what you see.”
The Predators had a chance to go up with 40 seconds of a 5-on-3 in the second. Without Hornqvist and with Joel Ward scratched for a second straight game with a lower body injury, the Predators couldn’t beat Rask. Rinne had to glove a shot on a shorthanded breakaway by Michael Ryder.
Wilson put Nashville up 2-1 with a give and go with Jonathon Blum with a wrister as he skated up the left side at 10:59. That didn’t last long as Rinne stopped a shot by Nathan Horton before Krejci scored into the open side of the net at 13:33.
Bergeron put the Bruins ahead with his 22nd this season, a wrister past Rinne. The Bruins later missed a shot off the post during a power play.
Martin Erat came out of the box after that penalty, got the puck for a breakaway on Rask who stopped his shot. Rask also stopped Kostitsyn’s shot off the rebound but couldn’t stop Legwand’s 12th goal. Rask tossed his stick up into the air in frustration.
“Maybe I could have done something differently, but it wasn’t a bad game,” Rask said. “Just a tough loss.”
Notes: With his goal, Weber became the franchise’s all-time scorer among defencemen with 80 for his career. … Legwand now has 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in his last 10 games and 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 16 games. … Krejci extended his point streak to seven games, and he has three goals and six assists for nine points.