December 23, 2014

The Boston Bruins are returning home in a good mood after a dominant performance that allowed them to avoid a winless road trip.

The Bruins will try to keep heading in the right direction Monday night by continuing their recent success against the scuffling Nashville Predators.

Boston (14-8-3) won a season-high five in a row before opening a three-game trip in Western Canada, but had that streak halted with a pair of close losses, a shootout defeat to Edmonton on Wednesday and one in overtime Friday against Calgary.

The Bruins shook off their latest defeat, in which they gave up the tying goal with 1.2 seconds left in regulation, by routing Vancouver 4-0 on Saturday. Tuukka Rask needed to make just 17 saves for his third shutout and Brad Marchand had the first of Boston's two goals in the opening 7:03.

"I think we've got to be very happy," Marchand told the team's official website. "Three games in four nights, and travel in between, I think we had a really good game tonight, and that's the way we've got to continue to play."

Boston will play just three times on the road in its next 13 games and among its home contests in that stretch is the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on New Year's Day.

The Bruins will try to begin that run with a sixth consecutive home win over Nashville (13-8-5). They're also 4-0-1 in the last five overall matchups.

Boston appears to have a promising chance to extend that dominance as the Predators are 2-5-2 in their last nine and 1-3-2 in their past six road games. They blew a two-goal lead in the third period and allowed the tying score with 2:23 remaining in regulation in a 5-4 overtime loss in Detroit on Saturday.

Shea Weber registered his first career hat trick - all on power plays - but Nashville allowed two more goals while short-handed. The Predators have let opponents convert 41.7 percent of their power plays in the last eight games.

"It's a tough loss," Weber told the team's official website. "The penalty kill is still struggling. We gave up two more, especially when we needed it and we just have to find a way. We have to battle through, stick together here and find a way to get those wins."

The Bruins, meanwhile, have one of the league's best penalty kill of late, fending off 27 of 28 power plays in the past eight games. They haven't been as effective with a man advantage, going 2 for 14 in their last seven contests.

Boston has scored one goal on nine power plays in its past three matchups with Nashville and given up one goal in seven times short-handed.

Marchand has four goals and three assists in a six-game point streak against Nashville. He totaled three goals in the final two games of the road trip and has scored eight of his team-best 13 in the past nine contests.

Nashville's James Neal has five goals and seven assists in his past nine matchups with Boston, but the Predators' leading goal scorer has been in a slump lately. He has one of his 10 goals and two assists in his past nine contests.

Weber has three goals and four assists in a six-game point streak versus the Bruins.

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