Bruins aim for consecutive wins vs. Predators

( - The Boston Bruins will try to head into the NHL's Christmas break with consecutive victories on Tuesday when they host the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

The Bruins have won two of three and are coming off Sunday's overtime victory against visiting Buffalo. However, Boston hasn't earned two straight wins since a three-game run from Nov. 15-21.

The Predators, meanwhile, picked up a third straight victory on Monday night, notching a 5-1 victory in Columbus. Nashville, which also has won five of six, enters Tuesday just two points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. Chicago is also in action tonight, as it hosts the Winnipeg Jets.

Tonight's combatants met in Nashville last Tuesday and the Predators recorded a 3-2 shootout win over the Bruins to halt a three-game slide in the series. The B's have dominated the Preds in Boston, going 6-2-0 with a tie in nine all-time encounters at TD Garden.

Nashville has lost four straight in Beantown and last picked up a road win against the Bruins on Nov. 28, 2003.

Boston pushed its home record this season to 10-6-2 with Sunday's 4-3 win over the Sabres. Loui Eriksson scored the game-winning goal at 2:14 of OT to grab the extra point for the Bruins.

Eriksson took a touch pass from Milan Lucic through the neutral zone and fought off a defender before firing a shot through the pads of Jhonas Enroth for the win.

It was Eriksson's seventh goal of the season and his fourth of the last seven games. The Swedish winger also provided the OT winner in last Wednesday's victory in Minnesota.

"It's always fun to score those important goals," Eriksson said. "I don't know why it's been that way, but hopefully it continues like that."

Dougie Hamilton finished with two goals and an assist, Chris Kelly also scored and Zdeno Chara added two helpers for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in the win.

Boston, which won't play again until Saturday's game in Columbus, expects to go back to Rask tonight. The Bruins No. 1 netminder is 1-0-2 with a 2.55 goals against average in three career games against Nashville.

Nashville has a chance to complete a three-game road trip with a perfect record tonight after posting recent wins in Minnesota and Columbus. Monday's lopsided win over the Blue Jackets improved Nashville's road record to 10-6-1.

Pekka Rinne made 30 stops and Nashville broke open the game with three goals in a span of 2:14 early in the third period to down Columbus at Nationwide Arena.

Craig Smith scored twice, while Mike Fisher, Colin Wilson and Seth Jones once each for the Predators.

"It was a good effort by us," Rinne said. "That's the way we've been playing this year. Nothing changed tonight. We played a solid game, and at the end it was nice to have that cushion."

The game was scoreless after one period and the Preds grabbed a 2-0 lead on second-period goals by Wilson and Smith. The three-goal burst in the third period pushed the cushion to five goals.

With the Predators off until Saturday's home game against Philadelphia, Rinne could get the start on back-to-back nights. He is 3-0-1 with a 2.32 GAA in four career games against the Bruins.