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Linus Ullmark posts 32-save shutout to help lift Bruins over Predators, 3-0

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald on

Published in Hockey

Playoff-style hockey agreed with the Bruins on Tuesday in Nashville.

Locked in a scoreless game late in the third period, the B’s scored three late goals to beat the Predators, 3-0, on the strength of Linus Ullmark’s 32-save shutout.

The win allowed the B’s to open a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the Atlantic Division lead.

Ullmark was excellent, but he didn’t steal the game. The B’s played a strong 200-foot game from start to finish and earned the win.

Charlie Coyle broke the scoreless tie with 6:42 left in regulation with a beauty of a short-handed goal that started with the B’s most important player in the game. With Mason Lohrei in the box for hooking, Ullmark jumped on a loose puck and wrapped it up the glass for Brad Marchand to chase down. Marchand held the puck at the left point to draw a Nashville checker to him and then fed Coyle for the clean break-in. Coyle picked his spot over the Juuse Saros’ glove and beat the netminder for his 24th of the year.

Then, after playing some dogged defense in their own zone, the B’s got an insurance goal with 2:42 left. David Pastrnak bulled the puck out of the defensive zone, took it in deep and fed Danton Heine at the side of the net. Heinen in turn hit a wide open Danton Heinen for an open-net goal.

The Preds then pulled Saros, but there was no panic in the Bruins and Pastrnak ended it with an empty netter.

The first period was an entertaining, up-and-down 20 minutes of scoreless hockey in which the B’s outshot the Preds, 11-6. Despite he back-and-forth nature of the action, it was also a well-checked contest.

 

Both teams had one power play apiece and both teams had glittering chances to take the lead in the first. The B’s best one came on an excellent penalty kill when Charlie McAvoy stood up at the blue line and created a breakaway for himself but Saros made the blocker save on him. Pastrnak also landed four shots on net in the first.

Ullmark also had to make a couple of big saves of his own. The first one was a nice skate on Luke Evangelista, who cut through the slot to get a good shooting angle. An even better stop came later in the period when Gus Nyquist connected with Ryan O’Reilly for a one-touch shot from the low slot that Ullmark kicked out.

The B’s suffered a big loss late in the period when Justin Brazeau had to leave the game when he was caught in an open ice hit by Luke Schenn, for which the Nashville defenseman was called for roughing. Brazeau, who’d been a revelation as a big puck-protecting winger with some scoring touch since being called up from Providence, left the ice holding his right arm close to his body and immediately went to the dressing room. There was no immediate word on his prognosis, but he did not return.

The game remained scoreless through two periods — miraculously so, from a Bruins perspective.

The Preds were given a power play at 14:19 when Jake DeBrusk nudged Kiefer Sherwood on a puck pursuit and was called for interference.

The B’s did a solid job of penalty killing again until late in the man advantage when it looked like Nashville had the sure 1-0 lead. As Ullmark got tangled up with Hampus Lindholm and a Predator at the right side of the net, Evangelista hit Norris Trophy candidate Roman Josi with a pass at the inside of the left circle and, with a wide open net staring at him, the Nashville captain clanged the near post.

Nashville put the B’s back on the power play at 17:22 when Cole Smith high-sticked Kevin Shattenkirk, but the B’s did nothing with the opportunity and the game went to the third deadlocked at 0-0. The Preds seemingly had some semblance of momentum after outshooting the B’s, 12-6, in the second period.


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