Jackets Nearly Perfect in Win Over Preds

The Nashville Predators went in to Nationwide Arena on Monday night and ran into one of the NHL’s hottest teams, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets had just completed a west coast sweep of Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose and added win number four to their streak with a 2-0 victory.

The Blue Jackets played a near perfect game and kept the Predators away from goalie Steve Mason who stopped all 27 Predator shots in the shutout. Mason played the best game that he has against the Predators in two years. The Blue Jackets’ goals were scored by Mike Commodore and Rick Nash, who was named the NHL first star of the week earlier in the day.

Columbus was able to take advantage of getting ahead of the Predators on the rush for both of their goals. The Predators seemed frustrated by getting out positioned by a team that they have dominated over the last four seasons. The Predators managed plenty of shots but they were not of the quality needed to force Mason into making a mistake.

Pekka Rinne stopped 28 of 30 Columbus shots, but was victimized by having an open player on the opposite side of the rush on both Blue Jacket goals.

The game started with both teams skating hard and playing very active defense. Columbus got on the scoreboard early at 8:37 when all of the skaters broke down the right side of the ice while Commodore went down the left side by himself. R.J. Umberger fired a cross ice pass to Commodore who put it past Rinne to put the Jackets up 1-0.

Chris Clark was called for hooking Alexander Sulzer at 11:09 to give the Preds a man advantage, They managed three shots but could not convert. Then at 14:30, Steve Sullivan hooked Umberger and the Jackets were also unable to score on a pair of shots.

As the period ended on a delayed call, Marty Erat was called for holding the stick as he skated past Commodore toward the net. As a result, the Jackets would start the second period on the power play. That power play carried over up until the 1:22 when Antoine Vermette was called for tripping Marcel Goc. Neither team was able to take advantage of the odd man situations.

Nashville was called for too many men on the ice at 9:20. The Jackets were credited with two shots on their power play.

The Predators got caught on the wrong end of a four on two rush at 14:14 and Jakub Voracek fired a cross ice pass to Nash who was in the clear on Rinne’s left side and he was able to put it in the open side of the goal to give the Jackets a 2-0 lead.

Almost immediately, the Preds went on the power play at 14:28 as a result of Jan Hejda interfering with Patric Hornqvist. The Preds had one shot but no goals.

The third period did not begin any better for the Predators. Jerred Smithson was called for hooking Nikata Filatov at 1:24 to put the Jackets back on the power play where they got one shot.

Columbus continued to out work the Predators and played stifling defense. The Preds got their first break at 15:53 when Commodore was called for holding Smithson. The Preds again got a shot but did not find the net.

Rinne was pulled with 1:27 left which lasted only eleven seconds until Shane O’Brien took down Voracek who was headed for the empty net at center ice. The game ended quietly as the Jackets played out the clock.

After the game, the Predators headed back to Nashville where they will practice on Tuesday in preparations for the last home game with St. Louis on Wednesday.

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