It was good fortune that Rich Peverley’s wide-right snap shot rocketed off the end boards to Milan Lucic’s stick for the tying goal in regulation yesterday in the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout win over the Predators.
But it was not mere luck that Lucic was in the right spot to corral Peverley’s rebound.
As Peverley took a pass from Zdeno Chara, crossed the blue line, and sliced into the high slot, Lucic was just a step behind the wing. Lucic was already in high gear when Peverley let his shot go.
But when the puck caromed off the boards, Lucic punched the turbos to make sure he was first to the rebound.
With a backhand whack, Lucic tapped the puck over Pekka Rinne at 18:53 to tie the game at 3.
“I was expecting anything,’’ Lucic said. “Just a rebound or whatever happened. Just a loose puck. That’s what is part of our job - to go to the net and find loose pucks. It was a great bounce going our way.’’
The goal capped one of Lucic’s best games. In 18:21 of ice time, Lucic ripped off a game-high seven shots, and the Predators blocked two other attempts.
With his score, Lucic became the first NHLer this season to score 20 goals while racking up 100 penalty minutes. Lucic has 107 PIMs, 20 via fisticuffs.
“That’s part of my game,’’ Lucic said of the surliness that accompanies his goal-scoring presence. “It’s something I’ve worked hard at, in creating space, since I was rookie. It’s been there this year.
“I need to keep that physical side to it, because I don’t think I get one thing without the other.
“I’ve just got to focus on being physical and doing those types of things.’’
Horton out again
Nathan Horton (concussion) missed his seventh straight game and will not play Tuesday against the Rangers. Horton tried skating on his own last Sunday, but his symptoms returned following the on-ice workout.
With Horton out, Peverley remained in his spot on Lucic’s flank. Jordan Caron served as the third-line right wing, Peverley’s usual position.
“All year long, you hear us talking about how we have enough depth,’’ coach Claude Julien said before the game. “It’s basically time to show it more than it’s time to use it as an excuse, which I don’t think we’ve used.
“Those are setbacks that happen. We’ve been through that with players before that missed the rest of the season. That didn’t stop us from competing and being a good team.’’
Adam McQuaid didn’t have his best stuff yesterday. The No. 6 defenseman played only 13:03, his lightest workload since Jan. 12 (12:44 against Montreal).
At 6:24 of the second period, McQuaid was called for roughing. After a whistle, he delivered one too many chops to Patric Hornqvist’s face. On the following power play, Shea Weber launched a game-tying one-timer past Tim Thomas.
McQuaid was on the ice for both of Nashville’s third-period goals.
He was caught up ice and couldn’t recover in time to defend Hornqvist’s goal-mouth strike. Later in the third, Mike Fisher went wide on McQuaid with speed. McQuaid got tangled up behind the net when Fisher found his own pass and beat Thomas.
McQuaid was also called for a delay-of-game penalty when he put the puck into the stands at 12:02 of the third.
A net positive
Rinne, starting against Thomas for the first time, continued to show why he is in the Vezina Trophy conversation again. Rinne turned back 38 shots, including 15 in the first period. “They dominated us and we’re very fortunate to get 1 point,’’ said Nashville’s Ryan Suter. “We could have actually won the game because of our goalie. It’s too bad we gave it away there at the end.’’
On the move
David Krejci centered the third line for most of the game. In overtime, Krejci was paired with Lucic, his usual left wing. Krejci had zero shots in 19:40 of ice time . . . Steven Kampfer was a healthy scratch and was assigned to Providence after the game. Providence hosts Albany today . . . Ryan Ellis was a healthy scratch for the Predators. The Bruins have always been hot for the first-year Nashville defenseman. When the Predators were kicking the tires on Phil Kessel, the Bruins inquired about Ellis in a possible return. The 21-year-old puck-moving defenseman has two goals and five assists in 19 games.
The Predators featured two former Boston University teammates in Colin Wilson and Brandon Yip. Nashville claimed Yip off waivers from Colorado Jan. 19. The two were members of BU’s championship team in 2008-09 . . . Calgary general manager Jay Feaster attended yesterday’s game. Feaster was in town on a personal matter . . . Nashville video coordinator Lawrence Feloney, a UMass-Amherst graduate, had 25 family members and friends in attendance . . . The Bruins will not practice today. They will host their annual casino night tonight at the State Room from 5-9 p.m. For information, call 617-624-1981 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.