Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators will look to stay hot after a big win over Columbus when they host the depleted Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Forsberg lit the lamp a franchise-record-tying four times to help the Predators rout the Blue Jackets 6-0 on Tuesday. The star left wing netted four of his team's first five goals, scoring twice in both the first and second periods.
His final goal was the 400th point of his NHL career and marked the third time a Predators player has had a four-goal game, joining Eric Nystrom and Rocco Grimaldi.
"He was feeling it tonight and it's nice to see," Predators coach John Hynes said after the game.
Juuse Saros made 27 saves to record his 15th career shutout and first this season. Saros improved to 10-7-1 with a .922 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average.
Nashville has won three of its last five games. A win over Boston would give the Predators back-to-back wins for the first time since Nov. 11-13.
"Obviously, it's a long season, and there's games that won't go your way, but I think we have a pretty good idea of what we have to do to be successful," Saros said.
Saros recorded 35 saves on 36 shots in his only prior start against the Bruins, a 2-1 home win on Jan. 12, 2017. Backup netminder David Rittich is 1-1-1 with a .919 save percentage and a 2.62 goals-against average in three prior starts versus Boston.
Illness, suspension and locker-room turmoil have plagued the Bruins in recent days as the team looks to stay afloat amid a slow start.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy is out indefinitely after being placed into the NHL's COVID-19 protocol ahead of Tuesday's home game against Detroit. Bruins assistant Joe Sacco served as interim coach against the Red Wings.
The team is also dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak with minor league affiliate Providence of the AHL, which is restricting its ability to call up additional depth.
The team desperately missed the playmaking skills of alternate captain Brad Marchand in a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings. Marchand was serving the first of his three-game suspension for slew-footing Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Sunday's 3-2 victory.
Meanwhile, left wing Jake DeBrusk was dropped to the fourth line and went scoreless against Detroit in 10:25 of ice time after general manager Don Sweeney confirmed earlier Tuesday that DeBrusk had requested a trade and "would prefer a new opportunity."
"I thought Jake was OK," Sacco said. "I just go back to our team not being able to finish off some of our looks that we had in the offensive zone."
David Pastrnak scored for the eighth time this season to tie the game at 1-1 at 6:20 of the third period before Linus Ullmark (14 saves) gave up the eventual winning goal to Marc Staal at 11:33.
It was Ullmark's second straight start after manning the net in just one of Boston's prior six games.
"You don't really get into the flow. Kind of have to find it yourself," Ullmark said of his sporadic playing time. "Unfortunately today I needed to make two saves extra, and I didn't do that."
The loss to the Red Wings was the Bruins' second in three games and their third in five games overall.
Ullmark is 1-3-0 lifetime with a .897 save percentage and a 3.50 goals-against average in four prior starts versus Nashville. Rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman has never faced the Predators.
It is the first meeting between the Bruins and Predators since Jan. 7, 2020.
--Field Level Media