Nashville Predators Keep the Shot Counter Busy in Narrow Win over Blue Jackets

It took the Blue Jackets over 14 minutes to get their first shot on goal, but eventually they pushed back hard on the Predators.

Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets
Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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With a season-high shots on goal on Saturday, the Nashville Predators were able to weather the storm of counter attacks and speed the Columbus Blue Jackets threw at them on Saturday.

The Predators pile on 49 shots on goal, so as you would expect, this felt like a much higher scoring game than 2-1 final score. It was fast-paced, a lot of open ice and constant barrages facing both goalies.

Preds. 2. 151. Final. 1. 113

Lankinen Wins the Goalie Battle, Evangelista Snipes the Game-Winner

Thanks to goals from Kiefer Sherwood and Luke Evangelista, the Predators have extended their points streak to 11 games, with the only loss during that stretch coming to the Montreal Canadiens in overtime.

Evangelista gets credit for the game-winning goal, just his second of his NHL career, after sniping a shot on Blue Jackets goaltender Daniil Tarasov in the third period. It was Evangelista's 13th goal of his rookie campaign.

Sherwood got the scoring going on his 8th goal of the season, which establishes a new NHL career high for him. His fourth line presence with Michael McCarron and Cole Smith stays consistent in this one.

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It was the team debuts from Anthony Beauvillier and Jason Zucker, and they played together on Nashville's second line along with Colton Sissons centering.

Zucker in his Predators debut leads the team in Expected Goals at 0.485 and three shots on goal. Beauvillier also added three shots on goal in 14:31 of ice time.

On Thursday Beauvillier was acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks for a 2024 5th-Round pick, and hours before Friday's deadline Zucker was acquired from the Coyotes for a 2024 6th-Round pick.

The Blue Jackets made one last onslaught after emptying the net just under two minutes left, but Kevin Lankinen's absolute heroics helped pushed this win over the finish line for the Predators.

It's Lankinen's ninth win on the season, after he was the subject of trade talks leading up to the trade deadline for teams looking to build their goalie depth. Nothing ever really materialized, and the Predators were able to turn to Lankinen the day after. Perfect irony.

Lankinen had to deal with constant counter attacks and net front traffic throughout the game, especially in the second period. He was also going up against an equally locked in goalie on the other side in Tarasov. A tremendously entertaining goalie duel.

Up next the Predators will finish off a back-to-back when they travel to take on the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. It's their second game of a four-game road trip. The season series favors Nashville 2-1, with the most recent meeting being on February 29 in a 6-1 Predators win.

The Predators claim their 37th win of Head Coach Andrew Brunette's debut season behind the bench for Nashville. At 77 points, the Predators have a 10-point cushion in the wildcard race over the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Seattle Kraken and St. Louis Blues. They also have a four-point lead for the top wildcard spot over the Vegas Golden Knights.

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