Nashville moves into second place with the win over the Kings. (PHOTO: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Central Division: Nashville Predators Seize Second Place

It was a busy night in the Central Division as the Predators shut out the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Red Wings stomped the Blues, the Blackhawks won again, and the Blue Jackets consoled themselves with earning one point against Calgary.

Around The Central Division: February 2, 2013

YESTERDAY

Nashville Predators 3, Los Angeles Kings 0

The first time the Preds met the Kings they played a white-knuckle defensive game that only ended when Sergei Kostitsyn scored in the eighth round of a shootout. This time things went a little different as Colin Wilson scored two goals and Pekka Rinne pitched a shutout for the Predators’ fourth consecutive win. It’s all right here:

My notes on the game are here.

With the win and the Blues’ loss to Detroit, Nashville is currently in sole possession of second place. The high-flying Blackhawks, seven points ahead, sport the league’s best record – and they’ll be paying Nashville a visit this weekend. This Nashville team is beginning to look a lot like the one that rolled over the NHL last January, but they’ll be playing their third game in four days when they meet the Blackhawks.

Central Division cellar dwellers the Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus managed to pick up a point against the Flames. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Calgary Flames 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)

Imagine you’re a very bad person who did very bad things in a very long life. Upon your arrival in the afterlife you seek out a bar, and figure skating is on the lone television in this bar. You’d ask the bartender to change to a hockey game, and Flames-Blue Jackets is the one you would get. You’d ask if there were any other games on, and the bartender would begin flipping through what you would only realize later are an infinite number of channels, every single one of which was showing Calgary-Columbus. You’d try to get up to leave the bar, only to find there were suddenly no doors. At some point you would actually begin to envy Flames and Blue Jackets fans, because at least they’ll eventually be put out of their misery – unless they were bad like you.

Oh…Leland Irving got the win, Sergei Bobrovsky took the loss.

Detroit Red Wings 5, St. Louis Blues 1

The Blues need Jaroslav Halak back yesterday. The wheels have fallen off without him. Brian Elliott took his second consecutive beating in net last night as the Red Wings did their best Nashville Predators impression and pounded the Blues with even-strength goals from five different players. The lowlight in an ugly game was this Johan Franzen spearing match penalty in the third period:

New call-up Petr Mrazek got the win, Brian Elliott took the loss. Happy face, sad face.

Central Division powers the Chicago Blackhawks crushed Phoenix

Six goals in two periods? The ‘Hawks are dangerous this season. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Blackhawks 6, Phoenix Coyotes 2

The Blackhawks pummeled Mike Smith with four goals in the first period and two more in the second en route to a blowout win over a Coyotes team with more holes than the desert outside Las Vegas. Raffi Torres did manage a goal in his first game back after serving his lengthy suspension for trying to kill Marian Hossa, but that came with just over a minute left in the game and the embarrassment already final. They’re pretty happy over at Blackhawk Up.

Chicago’s next stop is Nashville, where their showdown already has all the makings of a classic game.

Transactions

Columbus Blue Jackets activated D Nikita Nikitin from injured reserve.

Standings

Central Division standings 2-8-13

Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (CHI) – 18
Goals:
Patrick Kane (CHI) -8
Assists:
Patrick Kane (CHI) – 10
PIM:
Jared Boll (CBJ) – 46
Wins:
Corey Crawford (CHI) – 6
GAA:
Pekka Rinne (NSH) – 1.81
SV%:
Pekka Rinne (NSH) – .933

TODAY

There are no games in the Central Division today. In fact, there’s just one in the entire league. Time for Preds fans to rest up before a big hockey weekend, with games against Minnesota and Chicago.

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