In a game where the Predators had gone down 2-0 and showed few signs of any offensive punch, it was not imaginable that they would comeback with a victory by scoring two goals in the last four minutes of play.
After a scoreless first period that ended prematurely due to the fight between Jordin Tootoo and Tommy Sestito, both teams looked to have had the wind taken out of them by the potential serious nature of the fall that bumped Sestito’s head on the ice.
Columbus scored twice in the second period, the second goal coming on a fumble by Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne and a defensive miscue by Jon Blum and Robert Dietrich that left a puck sitting in blue ice giving Antoine Vermette an easy goal.
Ryan Jones brought life back to the Sommet Center crowd of over 10,000 with a goal with 1:52 left in the second period.
Jones told the story of his goal, “I actually came off the bench, we made a good change, Santo dumped it in and I was yelling at Tootoo who made a good pass and I had a little room and on a lefty I went glove and normally I ‘d go blocker.”
In the third period the Predators poured on the shots (19 for the period) but none were finding net until Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont hooked up on a unique play. J.P. was in front of the net and passed out to Arnott who was about 12 feet further out and while providing a great screen in front of Goalie Dan Lacosta that allowed Arnott to put the puck in the goal.
At 19:31 Derek Dorsett was called for Hooking giving the Predators one last power play opportunity. After controlling the puck in the Columbus zone for a minute Dumont got the puck to Shea Weber who had an open lane and slammed the puck home for the game winner.
After going 0-for-5 on the power play earlier in the game Weber was pleased with the goal.
“Anytime you can score whether it’s preseason or regular season it’s a boost to the power play,” said Weber. “You want to be clicking on all cylinders as soon as the season starts.”
Word filtered through the crowd as the game progressed that Steve Sullivan had left the game with an injury. Sully skated only five shifts for 3:31 in ice time before hitting the dressing room.
After the game, head coach Barry Trotz tried to calm the fears of fans, “He (Sully) just pulled his groin a little bit, its pre-season and nothing major so he should be fine. He’ll take tomorrow off and be reevaluated on Monday and probably will be ready by Wednesday.”
Trotz also commented on the team’s leadership, “Our best players have stepped up and been our best players. They have come through in all three pre-season games, they’ve been the best players at practice and in the scrimmage. They lead by example, full marks to them. They scored two goals at the end. A lot of times you win or lose with the game in their hands and they did a good job.”
Trotz was also pleased with some of the younger players giving positive comments on behalf of Jones, Mike Santorelli, Nick Spalling, Blum and Robert Dietrich. He also liked the play of newcomers Ben Guite and Marcel Goc.
The Preds will have a light day on Sunday and return to full Practice on Monday. The next game will be Wednesday in Atlanta and the Preds will return to the Sommet Center for the final home preseason game next Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Colin Wilson did not dress due to a minor groin pull.
The Preds out shot the Blue Jackets 40-16 for the game. They had a rough night in the face off circle winning 22 draws while losing 35. Only Jerred Smithson, who was 2-1, was over 50% for the game.
With Sully out, Mike Santorelli and Nick Spalling saw time on the first line. Trotz said it was “good to see how they think with high end guys.”
“I thought he has been really solid,” Trotz said of Blum’s play. “One of his calling cards has been his ability to manage the game and read plays and he’s done that.”
On the play of Dietrich Trotz commented, “It was his first game and I though he acquitted himself well. It’s the first time that he’s played at a higher level type of game. He has made good strides.”
On the numerous groin injuries on the Predators and around the league, Trotz said that it was early and getting used to game speed can cause a slight pull. Players have been trained to back down when it happens.
Trotz also discussed that players were starting to separate themselves in the quest for a roster spot.
“In every camp there going to be a surprise and a disappointment,” Trotz noted. “This camp has tremendous competition, especially in the opportunity roles, on defense, offense and role positions. As you go deeper into camp guys fall off and that happens.”
The next round of cuts won’t come until after the Team Building day at Fort Campbell next Thursday.
For complete post game interview and fight videos, please visit PredsOnTheGlass.com.