How Bruins made history in incredibly physical win over Predators originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Bruce Cassidy had a sense that Saturday's matchup between the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators may have been historic.
"I don't know what the hit count was exactly, but I think there were a lot on both sides," Cassidy said after Boston's 4-3 overtime win at TD Garden. "Probably one of the higher numbers (in terms of) quantity of hits on both sides. Certainly everybody's capable of it."
Cassidy's hunch was right: The Bruins and Predators combined for a whopping 91 hits Saturday (45 for Boston; 46 for Nashville), the highest combined total in one game for either team in their franchise history since the NHL started tracking hits in 2005-06.
Combined 91 hits -- most ever recorded by Bruins (or Preds) in a single game*
*NHL stat only tracked since 2005-06.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) January 15, 2022
Saturday's game marked the first time two teams combined for at least 90 hits in a game since a May 10, 2021, game between the Colorado Avalanche and Las Vegas Golden Knights. As for the Bruins, their 45 hits were tied for their eighth-most ever in a single game.
Those are eye-opening stats, but perhaps not too surprising considering both the Bruins (third, 27.4 per game) and Predators (ninth, 25.3 per game) rank among the NHL's leaders in hits per game.
"I think Nashville has changed a little of personnel and is trending that way to play that type of game. So I think when our team gets drawn into those games, we’re fine with it," Cassidy said. "We’re missing a couple of guys that are big men, but other guys went in and matched them.
"You don’t have to be the biggest guy in the ice to deliver good, clean hits. We saw that with (Brad Marchand) a couple times. (Oskar Steen) finishes his check. So again, I think it’s a style of play that we relish playing. Usually it takes two to get that game escalated to that physicality.”
The Bruins' offense has been red-hot during Boston's 8-1 stretch, but the B's also haven't been afraid to play a physical game and match their opponents' intensity. Based on recent results, that seems like a good blueprint to follow going forward.