By Amanda DiPaolo
Nashville won its second straight game Sunday night defeating the Blue Jackets 4-1 at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators were lead by their captain, Shea Weber, who picked up a goal and two primary assists in the second period.
The Predators have beaten Columbus 15 consecutive times on home ice. It is the longest active winning streak at home in the NHL.
The win came at a considerable cost. Cal O’Reilly broke his fibula bone. Midway through the third period, O’Reilly left the game when he fell awkwardly after trying to avoid a hit from Derek Dorsett.
With the loss of O’Reilly, the Predators will be without the players who are first, second and third in points on the team Wednesday night when Nashville heads out West for a California road trip. Steve Sullivan and Marty Erat are the other points leaders out of the lineup injured.
The win will move the Predators up in the standings back to ninth place in the Western Conference, after all games for Sunday night are complete. Nashville is one point out of 8th place and three points out of 4th place in the ever-tight Western Conference.
Columbus got on the board first when they opened scoring at just 37 seconds into the game. RJ Umberger scored his 15th goal of the season. Marc Methot’s shot from the blue line was tipped in front of the net.
The Blue Jackets were 14-2 when scoring the first goal of the game heading into Sunday night’s contest. There was no additional scoring in the opening period. Columbus had an impressive 12-1 record when leading after the first period going into the game in Nashville, which now stands at 12-2.
After the first period, it was all Nashville for the final forty minutes. The Predators tied the game at 2:59 into the second period. Shea Weber’s slap shot found the back of the net behind Steve Mason for his sixth goal of the season. Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson picked up assists.
With 6:09 left to play in the middle frame, Nick Spaling picked up his second career NHL goal, and first game winner when he scored on a rebound from a Weber shot at the blue line. Spaling picked up the rebound and put it past Mason as he fell to the ground. Joel Ward picked up the second assist on the play.
Nashville third goal of the second period came three minutes later when Hornqvist scored his 10th goal of the season, again by stuffing the rebound of a Weber blast from the point into the net. It was a power play goal. Fedor Tyutin was in the box for holding JP Dumont.
Nashville scored three goals on 11 shots in the middle frame.
Sergei Kostitsyn scored Nashville’s third period goal 5:53 into the third period. Colin Wilson and David Legwand picked up the assists. Wilson shot the puck on goal from the point, beating Mason. The fans cheered, but the puck didn’t cross the goal line all the way so Kostitsyn skated in and finished the job giving Nashville a commanding 4-1 lead.
The Blue Jackets couldn’t get anything going. They were unable to score on their three man advantages and were held to five and seven shots in the second and third periods respectively. Columbus also struggled on the faceoff, winning only 41% of the time.
For the second game in a row, new Predator Marek Svatos played just under 10 minutes. With the injury to O’Reilly, look for that ice time amount to jump way up probably a little sooner than the coaching staff would prefer.
Nashville hits the road for three games before returning to the Bridegstone Arena next week. The Predators next play Wednesday night in Anaheim. It is the first game of another back-to-back. Nashville visits Los Angeles on Thursday. The Predators end their week-long road trip when they visit San Jose next Saturday.
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