By JIM DIAMOND Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jeremy Swayman made 29 saves, Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist and the Boston Bruins defeated the Nashville Predators 5-0 on Thursday night.
Brad Marchand, Craig Smith, Derek Forbort and Trent Frederic also scored for the Bruins, winners of three of four. Nick Foligno and Hampus Lindholm each had two assists.
“Our best player was Swayman because they had a lot of good looks and he was patient on his feet, made a lot of shoulder saves, glove saves and didn’t give up any rebounds,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said.
Juuse Saros made 25 saves for Nashville. The Predators have dropped three of four coming out of the All-Star break. Nashville’s hopes of getting back into contention for a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference are fading.
“They beat us in a lot of areas,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “It wasn’t good enough by us. We got beat. We’ve got to execute better in certain areas, but I’d say the game in general, they were the better team in all facets.”
The shutout was the second of the season and seventh of Swayman’s career. Swayman’s best stop came midway through the third when he denied an attempt from an unchecked Tommy Novak in the slot.
“It’s really hard to get wins in this league, let alone shutouts,” Swayman said. “It’s a team effort. The guys in front of me made it possible, so I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Marchand scored the game’s first goal at 2:54 of the opening period. A shot from Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm caromed off of the end glass and sent the Bruins the other way on a 3-on-1 break. Marchand had a virtually open net after a slick give-and-go passing sequence with Bergeron.
The Bruins are 27-0-3 when scoring first this season.
Smith, a former Predator, began the three-goal second for the Bruins, a period in which Boston put just seven shots on Saros.
“To be honest, we came in the room after the second and we were all embarrassed what was happening out there,” Predators captain Roman Josi said. “It definitely wasn’t enough. It was a 5-0 game, so there wasn’t enough pushback.”
Lindholm’s two assists gave him 200 for his NHL career.
SUCCESS AGAINST NASHVILLE
Swayman has been perfect in his two career games against the Predators, pitching a shutout in both. In his only previous game against Nashville, played Dec. 2, 2021, a much busier Swayman turned aside all 42 shots he faced in Boston’s 2-0 victory.
“It’s definitely one you circle on the calendar, definitely a fun city to come visit,” he said.
NO PUCK LUCK
Thursday’s second period was a tough one for Predators defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, as two of Boston’s three goals in the period deflected in off of his stick.
At 1:11 of the second, Smith’s backhand from the left of the net hit off of Lauzon’s stick, and that was followed at 11:15 when Forbort’s pass attempt tipped off of Lauzon’s stick in the slot and slipped between Saros’ pads.
After being a second-round pick of Boston in 2015, Lauzon spent his first three NHL seasons with the Bruins.
Predators: Host the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
Bruins: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday.
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