By Amanda DiPaolo
In a Central Division showdown, Nashville edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in a shootout Wednesday night in the second of back-to-back games for the Predators. Six of the last 11 Predators games have gone to extra time for the Predators. Steve Sullivan scored the game winning goal in the shootout, the only skater to score on either goalie.
Last time out, the Predators came off a 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets were losers of two straight games for the first time this season and had hoped to not make it three in a row.
Columbus came out swinging with quality chances early in first three minutes putting pressure on Nashville by dominating the play in the Predators defensive end.
Nine minor penalties were handed out. Nashville went to the man advantage first when Derick Brassard was called for tripping Cal O’Reilly at 5:48 into the first period. The Predators were unable to capitalize. Ryan Suter got called for holding at 13:41 left to play. One minute into the penalty kill, Nick Spaling drew a penalty when Anton Stralman tripped him up to stop a shorthanded scoring chance.
During the middle frame, penalties were called liberally. Ethan Moreau was called for tripping Sergei Kostitsyn 3:52 into the period. Jerred Smithson went to the box at 6:22 for a high-stick, but 20 seconds into the Columbus power play, Stralman took a hooking call. It was the second penalty Nick Spaling drew while shorthanded. Brassard was called for hooking in the middle of the second.
Pekka Rinne continued to play sharp, making what looked like impossible saves. With 7 minutes left in the first period, Nashville’s netminder robbed RJ Umberger. With Suter in the box, Jakub Voracek split the defense and was left all alone in front a Rinne, but the shot was stopped with a kick save off the tip of Rinne’s skate.
The Blue Jackets have the worst power play percentage at home in the league, converting at 5.7%. Not being able to capitalize in four power play opportunities, Nashville has now killed off 28 consecutive penalties. Eight games without allowing a power play goal, Nashville has set a new franchise record.
With 13 minutes to play in the second period, Antoine Vermette tied the game at 1-1 while the teams were skating four on four with Smithson and Stralman in the box. The goal was scored on the rebound. Jan Hejda shot the puck off of Rinne’s shoulder and Vermette was able to bury the rebound.
Nashville took the lead on a head’s up play by Marty Erat, who saw Kostitsyn open to the side of the net at 16:29 left to play. The Erat, Goc, and Kostitsyn line generated several chances.
At the end of the second period, however, Nashville took a too many men on the ice call with 1 second left in the period. Colin Wilson was selected to serve the penalty.
Starting the third period on the power play, Kris Russell scored making it 2-2 just as the penalty expired. Nashville had an opportunity to take the lead when Erat hit the cross bar at 8:42 of the third period. Less than 2 minutes later, Antoine Vermette potted a Rick Nash rebound that went off Wilson’s skate to give the Blue Jackets their first lead of the game.
The Predators tied the game when Kevin Klein got his second goal of the season with only a little more than 8 minutes left in the third period. The goal was unassisted.
The game went to overtime and ended in a shootout. Steve Sullivan scored the shootout game winning goal to give Nashville its second win in as many nights.
Additional Game Notes:
Patric Hornqvist was limited to 7 minutes of ice time. Former fourth liners Sergei Kostitsyn and Colin Wilson played 13:40 and 14:18 respectively.
The Kostitsyn, Goc and Erat line had 12 shots on goal, up from Tuesday night’s 3 shots.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The next Predators home game is Saturday when the Carolina Hurricanes come to town.
Topics: Antoine Vermette, Cal O'Reilly, Colin Wilson, Columbus Blue Jackets, Derick Brassard, Jan Hejda, Kevin Klein, Nashville Predators, NHL, Nick Spaling, Pekka Rinne, Phoenix Coyotes, Rick Nash, RJ Umberger, Steve Mason, Steve Sullivan