The Jackets and Predators came into this game with identical 11-12-6 records, but the Jackets were able to come away with the 4-3 victory. It was 4-1 for the Jackets until the final two minutes of regulation, when the Preds were able to make things interesting by potting a late goal, and another with Pekka Rinne pulled. The win, for the time being, put the Jackets in a tie for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.
First Period Notes:
- Columbus gave the nod to red-hot Sergei Bobrovsky, while Nashville started Pekka Rinne.
- Derek MacKenzie returned to the lineup after missing the past few games. He's a fourth line player through-and-through, but the energy and hard work that he brings to the lineup surely provides a boost to the rest of the roster.
- The Jackets donned their third sweaters again. To our wonderful readers- is there anybody out there savvy enough with photoshop to swap the colors of the third to produce a vintage white base with blue striping? Essentially an away version of the current thirds. I'd love to see those, and just maybe I have something to give away to the best one...
- Once again, Bob was hit in the mask by an errant high stick with no call. The most recent time was against the Canucks, when Henrik Sedin caught Bob in the eye. Luckily this time around the mask took the impact.
- By the midway point of the first, the Preds were heavily outshooting the Jackets, but neither team was able to come up with any great scoring chances. The Jackets turned it on in the second half, thanks to a pair of powerplays, but weren't able to crack the goose egg. They outshot the Preds 16-0 in the back half of the period.
- Score after the first: 0-0
Second Period Notes:
- Early in the period Bob took a shot off the mask, shaking him up. After a couple of minutes and some smelling salts to get his whits back, he was good to go. Takes a lot of sack to be an NHL goaltender, that's for sure.
Fedor Tyutin gave the Jackets the lead when he lobbed the puck on net, confounding Rinne. It was a greasy goal, exactly the kind of goal to get the ball rolling, so to speak.
- The goal gave Tyutin 134 points as a Jacket, moving him past Rusty Klesla as the franchise's top-scoring defenseman.
- MIdway through the period, the Jackets embarked on a run of absolutely dominant play. They had the Preds scrambling, and peppered Rinne with shots from everywhere. The Preds were finally able to chip the puck out, but Dalton Prout pulled off a nice move to keep the puck in, finding Vinny Prospal. Vinny then fed the puck cross-crease to Mark Letestu, who wired past Rinne.
- Prouter's keep-in was the second assist, and was his first NHL point.
Cam Atkinson went off for slashing later in the period, but the Jackets were able to kill it off. I'd love to see Cam get a goal man, he's due.
- Late in the period Bob was beaten. Shocking, I know. I didn't believe it myself. Roman Josi (love this kid, by the way) snapped a shot on-net. It bounced off of Gabriel Bourque, then Brandon Yip before going past Bob.
- A scary moment for the Jackets- Nick Foligno collided with Nashville's Taylor Beck near the end of the period. It was not intentional at all, both players were watching the play, and Beck's elbow caught Foligno's head. Foligno would return for the third.
- Score after the second: 2-1 Jackets.
Third Period Notes:
- The Preds came out hard to start the period. They couldn't sustain it however, and all of their momentum was killed when David Legwand was given a minor penalty for cross-checking Ryan Johansen into the endboards.
- On the ensuing powerplay, the Jackets gained the two-goal lead. Jack Johnson fed the puck to Vinny Prospal, who then passed to Nikita Nikitin. Nikki6 wound up, and blasted the puck over Rinne's shoulder. It's great to see Nikki pot one. He's had an up and down year, I'd love to see him finish the season strong.
- Shortly after Nikki's goal, the Jackets got another off a three-on-two. Letestu carried in, but rather than passing over to Vinny, who was streaking in line abreast of him, he passed back to Derick Brassard, the third man in. Brass wired the puck past Rinne.
- With about two minutes left in regulation, Richard Clune beat Prout in a battle behind and to Bob's right. He then fed the puck out to Chris Mueller, who fired off a quick one to cut the lead in half. Seconds after play resumed, the Preds pulled Rinne. While up a skater, Mike Underwood was able to get the puck alone in front, and pulled off a spin-to-backhand routine, beating Bob low.
- The final seconds were more interesting than they needed to be, but the Jackets held on for the win.
Final Score: 4-3 Jackets
1) The line of Prospal, Letestu and Brassard was great tonight. Special congrats to Vinny on assist number 500 of his career, one of three on the night for him.
2) Dalton Prout- outside of getting beat on the Mueller goal, he was solid again, and earned his first NHL point. Good on ya Prouter!
4) Ryan Johansen had a ton of chances tonight. It's a shame he wasn't able to get in on the goal scoring action. Once he breaks through and starts getting some goals under his belt- look out.
Bottom of the Barrel:
1) The late Nashville goals were buzz killers.
2) The Nashville assistant with the Keith Urban hair. Grow up, man.
3) I understand not wanting to mess with chemistry, but something has to be done to get Arty off of the fourth line. Do I have an alternative? No, but that's why they pay you the big bucks Richards.
The Jackets return to action on Friday, where they host the Calgary Flames.