NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, the team’s annual fathers’ trip comes with an extra bonus.
“We got a day in Nashville tomorrow,” he said Saturday after a 28-save, 3-0 shutout in Philadelphia. “It’s a great time to hang out and enjoy Nashville. My dad likes country music, so he isn’t going to know what is going to hit him.”
Rask will get to enjoy Music City on Monday as well, receiving the night off in favor of backup Anton Khudobin when Boston takes on the Nashville Predators in Bridgestone Arena.
The Bruins (12-8-4) come into town playing arguably their best hockey of the season, winning six of their past seven. They weren’t pressed hard by Philadelphia, which dropped its 10th game in a row.
Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak each scored a goal and added an assist while Ryan Spooner also tallied his first goal in 22 games.
“We might have played one game all year with our full lineup, which is a big difference when you are missing guys,” Marchand said. “With everyone back and young guys hitting their stride, we are a pretty deep team. We can compete every night, and we want to keep going the way we have been.”
So does Nashville (16-7-3), which started December with the same result it got most of November — a win. Two power-play goals plus 33 saves from Pekka Rinne got the Predators to a shootout, where Kevin Fiala and Kyle Turris scored to salt away a 3-2 decision over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. It was the Predators’ 11th win in 14 games.
No man advantage in the league is as potent these days as Nashville’s, particularly at home. The Predators have scored at least one power-play goal in all 13 home games, and they are converting at a 39.6 percent clip in front of their fans.
Even guys such as Calle Jarnkrok, who rarely get man-advantage time, are joining in on the fun. Playing on the power play with top-line center Ryan Johansen unavailable for the game’s last 30-plus minutes, Jarnkrok scored on a rebound to tie the score at 11:17 of the third period.
“He’s just smart. He’s talented and can jump in that situation,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said of Jarnkrok. “He has been there before in the past, and he’s done a good job. To jump in like that and not miss a beat is pretty good.”
Johansen’s status for Monday night is unknown, since the team doesn’t provide in-game injury updates. Laviolette only said after the Saturday night game that the team would know more on Monday. Regardless of whether Johansen plays or not, it is unlikely Laviolette will break up the second line with Turris centering Fiala and Craig Smith.
Rinne (15-4-2, 2.35 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) probably will make his 12th start in 13 games for Nashville. He is hoping for a different result than he got when the Predators saw Boston in each team’s season opener on Oct. 5, a 4-3 defeat.
Khudobin (7-0-2, 2.22, .932) hasn’t played since Nov. 24, when he notched a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins with 17 saves. He has won four straight starts, with save percentages of .952, .973 and .964 in his past three assignments.