NASHVILLE — This could be a time when a team starts getting nervous, with just 10 days remaining until the trade deadline. There is some uncertainty regarding the fate of some members of the Bruins, but coach Claude Julien hasn’t sensed a change. Not yet, at least.
“Maybe when we get closer,” he said Thursday. “But right now, as we speak, I don’t sense it. I sense a real focus on winning hockey games here and doing the right things.
“There’s been years where you probably sense it a little bit more in the room. I can’t say that this year that’s been the case. We seem to have the right mind-set right now, and that’s what we need moving forward.”
One of the bigger deadline questions for the Bruins is what they’ll do with Loui Eriksson, the winger set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
“I’m not trying to focus on the things around the team,” Eriksson said. “All I can do is go out and play my game and try to do my best. That’s my mind-set right now.”
That sentiment was echoed by Patrice Bergeron.
“I think every year is the same, it’s a little cliché, but you try not to think about it,” Bergeron said. “I’m sure for some of the guys it’s not easy, easier said than done, but [Eriksson] has done a great job of staying focused and really putting the team first and showing up every night and being good for us.
“I guess it’s out of his control and everybody else is in the same boat. We’re trying to accomplish good things for the team right now, and we can’t really control and worry about that.”
Eriksson has ramped up his scoring of late, notching a goal in each of the first four games of the road trip before he was held scoreless in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to the Predators. He has five goals in his last seven games.
“I think he’s been pretty consistent this year,” Julien said. “I know he went through a little stretch there just before this road trip where he hadn’t scored in a while, but he was still a decent player. As I say so often, in an 82-game schedule, players have little ups and downs. Maybe he wasn’t at his best, but he was still a good player for us.
“This road trip has been an important one for our team and he’s stepped up and scored some big goals, especially when we’ve missed one of our top centermen, he was able to be one of those guys that was going to step up and make things easier for us. Really pleased with his road trip so far.”
Eriksson directly gave the Bruins 2 points Tuesday in Columbus with his goal just 33 seconds into overtime. It was his 20th of the season, the sixth time in his career he has reached 20.
“It’s always fun to score goals,” Eriksson said. “It was nice to get the overtime goal there and it was fun that it was in my 700th game, too. It’s a pretty cool milestone to get and hopefully I can get some more here going forward.”
The Bruins aren’t the only team struggling at home this season after playing well there last year. The Predators are in the same boat with a 15-10-4 record at Bridgestone Arena, well off their 28-9-4 pace from last season. Boston is 12-14-3 at TD Garden after going 24-10-7 there last year.
“To make the playoffs nowadays, you’ve got to win both home and road, but certainly after coming off of last season, with the success we’ve had at home, we’re disappointed that we haven’t been able to get some wins recently,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “We started off well at home, and just recently we haven’t been able to get it done. We’ve got to be better in that area, for sure.”
The Bruins would like to do the same when they return from their six-game road trip, which concludes at Dallas on Saturday. After that, six of their next seven games are at home.
“There’s nothing better than winning hockey games in your own building,” the Predators’ Ryan Johansen said. “You also want to make it difficult on teams when they come into your arena that they know it’s going to be a big challenge.”
Rask a beaten man
For the second straight game, Tuukka Rask got a little beaten up. On Tuesday, he went down after a collision with Matt Beleskey snapped his head back. On Thursday, it was a stick to the throat that left him shaken up and, it appeared, a bit miffed. “Little stinger,” Rask said. “My mask was halfway out. Just try to shake it off so I wouldn’t get hurt. But a stick in the throat. There was two guys battling. It wasn’t a high-stick or nothing. I was just down low looking for the puck and he got me right in the throat. No big deal.” . . . Bergeron, who returned Tuesday after sitting out the previous two games, said that it was helpful to take off Wednesday’s practice as a maintenance day. “You try and do as much treatment as possible right now and obviously it’s also about managing the practices and the time on the ice,” said Bergeron. “The schedule is pretty busy, so it’s a little bit of both.” . . . Max Talbot, Zac Rinaldo, and Joe Morrow were the Bruins’ scratches.