Offense has been a major issue for the Nashville Predators this season. Last night at Bridgestone Arena, though, they left all those struggles behind them as they unleashed four goals on the Sergei Bobrovsky and the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets.
The first of Nashville’s goals came at 7:11 in the first period courtesy of recent Milwaukee Admirals call-up Taylor Beck. Jon Blum passed the puck up to Gabriel Bourque, who played it up the right wall. Beck made an excellent play to chip it past the Columbus defender before cruising in to put the puck over Bobrovsky’s left shoulder for the first goal of his NHL career.
Just 1:10 later, at 8:21, Shea Weber scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play. He knocked home a one-timer from the top of the left circle on an excellent feed from Bobby Butler, who had received a pass from Martin Erat moments earlier before moving toward the net to open up the passing lane to Weber.
Columbus got a goal back at 9:29, but David Legwand made it a 3-1 game just 17 seconds later. After fishing the puck out of the corner, Legwand moved it back toward Taylor Beck, who took the puck and made his way to net. Legwand cruised over in the space created by Beck and roofed a shot after Beck’s initial attempt was stopped by Bobrovsky, giving Beck an assist to go along with his earlier goal.
Matt Halischuk wrapped up the scoring run 29 seconds later at 10:15 of the first period. After picking up the puck from a Columbus bobble in the neutral zone, Bobby Butler dished the puck back to Halischuk. He entered the zone and let a wrister fly from nearly the same spot on the ice as Shea Weber had on the power play. Somehow the puck beat Bobrovsky to give Nashville a 4-1 lead.
All four of those goals came between 7:11 and 10:15 of the first period. That mark of three minutes and four seconds is the fastest the Predators have ever scored four goals in their 14 seasons in the league.
The Nashville Predators have now scored 26 goals in their last 7 games, an average of 3.71 per game over that span. That brings their average for the season, which had languished below 2.00 for long periods of time, up to 2.44. They’ll have to maintain their recent torrid pace if they hope to make the playoffs, as their defense is still giving up 2.53 per game. But at least for the moment, Preds fans can enjoy the team’s record performance last night.