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Quick Thoughts: Blue Jackets 4, Predators 0

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It sure didn't look like Columbus played last night as the Blue Jackets blanked the Predators at Nationwide on Friday.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

- Well, the Jackets don’t waste any time in taking a 2-0 lead, scoring twice in the first four and a half minutes. A lovely forecheck led to Kerby Rychel throwing a picture-perfect pass from behind the net to a waiting Gregory Campbell. Campbell slammed it home for his second of the season and a 1-0 lead just 2:35 into the game. Keep making plays like that, Rychel, and you might not go back to Cleveland. If it’s possible to marry a pass, I might start shopping for stationery:

- Just 1:43 later, James Neal turned the puck over while trying to exit the Nashville zone and Columbus capitalized. Ryan Johansen collected the puck for a 3-on-2 and had all the time in the world to deke Pekka Rinne out of his skates for a backhand beauty. The officials conferred as the net came off its moorings by way of a driving Saad, but the goal stood. Remember a certain game last year where Rinne pushed off the post and disallowed a goal. Sorry, dude.

- Two goals on two shots. That’s good math. Jackets also blocked a ton of shots. Nashville’s feed had the CBJ leading 9-1 in that category with about five minutes to go.

- Good sign: Boone Jenner pounced on a moment of hesitation from a Nashville defenseman at the point, stealing the puck and creating a great shot off the rush. That’s the energy John Tortorella wants and the way the Jackets have to play to make up ground in the standings.

- No penalties and a 2-0 lead for Columbus at the first intermission. Big losses though as both Fedor Tyutin and Cody Goloubef left the game to injuries. Goloubef went to the hospital this period after getting struck in the face with a puck (fractured jaw). Best wishes to both of them.

Second Period

- Oh, Boone. Boone Jenner with an absolutely beautiful goal for his 10th of the season and the CHILI score. Rinne stops Jenner’s initial shot and goes searching for the puck while Boone, falling to the ice, twists and backhands it in for a 3-0 lead. What a wild, beautiful goal. His scoring pace might be unsustainable, but he does keep scoring, and when you’re doing it like this—who cares about anything else?

- Ryan Johansen took the game’s first penalty, hooking Cody Hodgson at 7:53. Last night’s power play empty netter notwithstanding, Columbus’s PK has been much better lately and killed this penalty as well.

- The Predators began to create much better chances than they had in the first. They started setting up shop in the Jackets’ zone and looked stronger off the rush. Only Sergei Bobrovsky was having none of it. Bob knows how to dazzle with those post-to-post moves and left the Nashville announcing team totally baffled as to how he made this stop:

- Columbus handed Nashville a power play with 1:59 to go in the second when Matt Calvert’s stick came up on Seth Jones. Dangerous to give a buzzing team a man advantage right before the break (well, always, but just poor time)…but nothing doing. CBJ defended well and keep the Preds scoreless for a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.

- Nashville outshot Columbus 27-12 through the first two periods…and Columbus had blocked 17 shots to Nashville’s four.

Third Period

- Kerby Rychel gave Nashville its third power play of the game 2:11 into the third period, roughing up Gabriel Bourque for a minor. Bob made another incredible save—your best penalty killer living up to the title—as the Preds came up empty on yet other power play. This is how you earn a shutout, you go out and take it:

- Nashville registered the first nine shots of the period and held the CBJ without one until Brandon Saad tried one in close with 9:30 to go.

- The CBJ earned their first power play with 10:08 left in the game (!) after James Neal tripped up Bob in front of the net. Blue Jackets created a few solid chances, but more importantly, took away two minutes of clock from Nashville.

- Nashville continued to pressure. Not sure the Predators left the Columbus zone for about two solid minutes, but it didn’t matter as Jackets (and Bob) stayed in front of shots as Nashville pulled Rinne with about 3:50 for the extra man. Can’t say enough about Bob’s resilience and John Tortorella called a timeout with 3:09 to go.

- Scott Hartnell cashed in on the empty net in the final minute thanks to Kevin Connauton tying up his man Nick Foligno getting the puck to No. 43. Hartnell’s nine of the year, 4-0 Jackets.

- Despite a three-goal lead, those last couple of minutes seemed to take forever. Big win for Columbus and a huge shutout for Bob.

Quick Thoughts

- Here’s a partial list of why Columbus shouldn’t have won that game: They played last night and Nashville didn’t, they lost two defenseman on an already not-stellar blue line in the first period, they got outshot 39-18 (and that’s not even counting attempts), they’re missing several good forwards—one of those being Brandon F---ing Dubinsky—and they also, historically, have stunk on ice against Nashville. And they won 4-0, scoring twice in the opening five minutes.

- Bob played lights-out tonight. One of those performances where his play picked up as the game went on, making big save after big save to frustrate the Predators. What a difference for No. 72 now compared to how the season started. If the CBJ want to win, it starts with him.

- Got on Ryan Johansen in last night’s Quick Thoughts and he clearly read it on the flight home, getting a goal and an assist. Boone Jenner also picked up two points. Much more even ice time distribution, which you’d expect on the second-half of a back-to-back—except the poor defense. David Savard played 30:48 and Jack Johnson logged 29:25 after Tyutin and Goloubef went down. Tough as nails.

- Only three penalties given up and the team made do with one power play.

- The CBJ have won their last three at home and host San Jose on Sunday at 5 p.m. They beat the Sharks 5-2 back on November 3 in Nationwide, starting a month that’s seen them go 6-3.