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BOSTON (AP) — This time, the Bruins scored early instead of late.
Boston beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Tuesday night and celebrated consecutive wins for the first time in more than a month. Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand scored two goals apiece and Patrice Bergeron had three assists for the Bruins, who had gone to overtime in three of their last four before holding off the Predators in regulation.
"We know that we have to be better. It just seemed like every time you made a mistake, it ended up in our net and we couldn't score. The last couple of games we've showed some character," said Marchand, who scored 2:02 into the game and added a goal midway through the second period to give Boston a 4-2 lead.
The Bruins were coming off a 4-3 victory over Buffalo on Sunday, forcing overtime on a goal with 1:31 left in the third.
Two nights later, Boston built a lead and hung on.
"We had to come back with a strong performance tonight and I thought we did it," Bergeron said. "Even though it wasn't pretty in the third, we found a way."
David Krejci also scored for the Bruins, who held the Predators to 10 shots through the first two periods. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves and Chris Kelly had a pair of assists for Boston.
Calle Jarnkrok and Taylor Beck each had a goal and an assist for Nashville. Beck's goal 6:48 into the third period pulled the Predators to 4-3, but Rask didn't let anything else by him as Boston won for the third time in four games.
"I always want to play a perfect game and today definitely wasn't a perfect game. There's been times I've played really good and we've lost," Rask said. "Today I wasn't at my best but the guys (picked me up) and played a heck of a game."
After shutting down Nashville through the first two periods, the Bruins withstood a barrage from the Predators in the third.
The Predators, who won at Columbus 5-1 on Monday night, had 15 shots in the final period despite having to kill a 4-minute power play.
"We knew we had to come out extremely hard in the third period down a couple goals. We thought that we played a great period," Beck said. "We could've been back into it with any bounces. Rask made some big saves, and sometimes you just fall short."
Nashville couldn't rally after falling behind 4-2 on goals by Eriksson and Marchand in the second period.
Eriksson broke a 2-all tie 5:53 into the second and added an empty-netter with 38 seconds remaining after Nashville pulled goalie Carter Hutton, playing in just his fourth game this season.
"We pushed but we didn't have enough tonight," said Hutton, who made 24 saves.
Bergeron assisted on Marchand's goal 2:01 into the game and again when Marchand scored at 10:51 of the second to give Boston a 4-2 lead.
Rask had a spotty first period, allowing two goals, but hardly saw the puck in the second when the Predators managed only three shots on goal.
NOTES: Krejci's goal in the first gave Boston power-play goals in two straight games for the first time since Nov. 6 (Edmonton) and Nov. 10 (New Jersey). ... The Predators beat Boston 3-2 in a shootout last Tuesday. ... Nashville's James Neal received a double-minor for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct 2:02 into the third, then shortly after returning picked up a 10-minute misconduct at 6:26. ... G Pekka Rinne has been in net for all 22 of Nashville's wins.
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