The Columbus Blue Jackets used the “Predators recipe for success” to claim a 1-0 win over the Nashville Predators.
Nashville closed out their extended stay at home with a 1-4 record and just six goals stretched over five games. The Blue Jackets effort tonight was one that the Predators would love to emulate: timely scoring, a grinding forecheck, shutdown defense and excellent goaltending.
The Predators displayed three of those four characteristics (at times), but as it has been for most of the home stand, one was missing. For the fourth-straight game, Nashville’s offense was all but nonexistent and another stellar game by goaltender Pekka Rinne was wasted.
“We’ve got to find ways to score goals,” Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. “We’re not scoring right now, and you don’t win games like that. Pekka gave us a chance to win the game. He played awesome. We’ve got to find a way to score.”
The only goal of the contest came in the third period when Columbus forward Artem Anisimov cut to the net off an odd-man rush and tucked a backhander behind Rinne.
“It was an odd-man rush and I think Johansen had it and then he dropped it. It went to Anisimov and I tried to front the shot, but he made a good play and it turned into a goal,” said Predators defenseman Seth Jones.
Game after game on the home stand, Nashville’s head coach has praised many elements of his club’s performance, but the lack of goals put on the scoreboard continues to bite his team.
“We’ve been shooting enough pucks; we’re just not finding the back of the net,” Predators head coach Barry Trotz said. “Look at the stats, it shows we haven’t been able to get it on the power play, we haven’t been able to get any five on five, and so it’s tough to win hockey games.”
The persistent pressure in the offensive zone by the Blue Jackets, coupled with repeated break-ups of the Predators rushes up the ice, slowly titled the contest in the away team’s favor.
“We had four lines going over the boards and we continued to do the same thing and put them on their heels with our forecheck. It carried over and it felt great,” Columbus head coach Todd Richards said. “I thought the guys were great today. [...] Good forecheck, we were better through the neutral zone.”
Forced to try and connect on the few offensive chances given up by Columbus, the Predators missed passes, whiffed on shots or hit posts when they were near the net.
“It feels like we’ve hit 10 posts this home stand–not 10–but a lot of posts. We’re not getting the bounces right now, we’re playing great hockey and getting the chances,” Jones said. “We’re getting a lot of offensive pressure and it’s just not going in the net.”