BOSTON (AP) — Patrice Bergeron scored two goals to reach 300 for his career, returning to the lineup Saturday after missing 16 games and leading the Boston Bruins past the Nashville Predators 5-2.
He also set up Brad Marchand’s tie-breaking score to help send Boston to its sixth win in eight games.
David Pastrnak had his team-leading 23rd goal and added two assists. Marchand had two assists and defenseman Charlie McAvoy set up Bergeron’s first goal
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 22, 2018
Making his third straight start for the Bruins, Jaroslav Halak stopped 28 shots and assisted on Sean Kuraly’s empty-netter.
Ryan Johansen and Kyle Turris scored for Nashville, which lost its fourth straight (0-3-1) for the first time this season. Pekka Rinne made 27 saves.
With Ryan Hartman off for tripping, Bergeron sent a pass to Marchand, who one-timed a shot into the net with 8:37 left in the game. Pastrnak completed a 2-on-1 break with Marchand for a goal with 5:51 to go.
The Bruins had a two-man, power-play advantage for 65 seconds to start the third period. At the end of the first penalty, Rinne made a pad save on Torey Krug and stuffed Marchand’s rebound bid.
But on the ensuing shift, Bergeron scored out of a scramble from just outside the crease, lifting puck over the goalie to make it 2-1 at 1:44 of the period.
Turris fired a shot from the top of right circle that caromed into the net off the left post, making it 2-2 with 10:53 left in the third.
Sidelined because of a rib injury since mid-November, Bergeron had pushed the Bruins ahead 15:10 of the opening period. McAvoy fired a pass to Bergeron in the slot, where the center cut toward his left, stopped and shifted quickly before flipping a shot under the bar.
Boston had a goal overturned midway into the second period. A replay review for goaltender interference prevented the Bruins from going up 2-0.
In a second period filled with steady end-to-end play, Nashville tied it at 13:01 when Johansen fired a wrister from the right circle that appeared to hit Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk’s stick and change direction before slipping into the net through a small space between the post next and Halak’s left arm.
NOTES: Rinne had a shutout in the teams’ other meeting, 1-0 in Nashville on Nov. 3. . Boston defensemen Zdeno Chara (knee) and Kevan Miller (larynx) both resumed practicing this week but didn’t play. They’re getting close to returning. . Halak entered the day leading the NHL with a .930 save percentage. . Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said goaltender Tuukka Rask would start on Sunday. . The Predators came in 10-1-1 against Eastern Conference teams.
Predators: Off until Dec. 27th when they host Dallas.
Bruins: At Carolina on Sunday.