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
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.
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