Sullivan's hat trick leads Nashville to 5-3 win over Columbus

Just 6 days after Martin Erat scored three goals against Vancouver, Steve Sullivan completed his first hat trick since December 14, 2006 to lead the Preds to a 5-3 victory in Columbus tonight. With the win, Nashville pushed its record to 12-3-2 in the last 17 games, leapfrogging Phoenix into 6th place in the Western Conference.

Follow after the jump, for video highlights, the recap, and the advanced even-strength stats...

This was an odd game, in that offensively, the Preds won a tremendous number of individual battles for the puck, but that was offset by an equally tremendous number of penalties; Columbus got seven power play chances on the night, which led to two of their goals.

The top line of Arnott, Erat and Sullivan dominated much of the 5-on-5 play, while David Legwand's line was able to keep things to a relatively standstill (great work by a shutdown line on the road). Ryan Jones was able to follow up on his 2-point night against Detroit with a tip-in of a Dan Hamhuis shot, but he did take two penalties and had a couple other golden opportunities to score go wide; yes, he scored, but I didn't think he had a particularly strong game.

Patric Hornqvist was excellent, however, and capitalized on some hard work On the Forecheck by Legwand that led to a turnover behind the Columbus net. He also drove towards the crease repeatedly and got roughed up several times for his reward.

In goal, Dan Ellis was good enough to keep the Blue Jackets at bay, steering rebounds off to the side during a few stretches when Columbus seized the momentum. He ended up with 28 saves on 31 Blue Jacket shots.

All in all, while not a perfect effort, the energy level was excellent, and seizing the advantage early in the game kept Nashville in the driver's seat all evening long. It was especially important to nail down the win in regulation against a conference rival, and avoid having to work overtime ahead of tomorrow night's home game with Tampa Bay.

Reminder: Tomorrow marks the end of Movember, so check out the Preds' mustaches and make your donation!

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Martin Erat R 13:50 5 0 0 0 19 10 9 24 13 11
 Jason Arnott C 14:20 5 1 2 0 17 10 7 21 12 9
 Steve Sullivan L 14:10 1 0 0 0 16 11 5 20 13 7
 David Legwand C 13:34 1 0 0 0 5 4 1 8 11 -3
 Joel Ward R 11:47 1 1 0 0 4 6 -2 7 10 -3
 Marcel Goc C 10:19 0 1 1 0 8 3 5 13 8 5
 Jerred Smithson R 11:52 0 0 1 0 3 5 -2 4 11 -7
 Ryan Jones L 9:34 1 1 0 0 5 3 2 10 7 3
 J P Dumont R 10:36 0 1 0 0 6 3 3 9 7 2
 Wade Belak R 5:20 0 0 0 0 3 1 2 4 5 -1
 Patric Hornqvist R 6:10 4 1 0 0 7 2 5 9 5 4
 Dave Scatchard C 7:45 2 0 1 0 6 4 2 8 8 0
 Shea Weber D 15:59 0 0 0 0 9 9 0 14 11 3
 Ryan Suter D 15:23 1 0 1 1 9 8 1 13 10 3
 Dan Hamhuis D 15:26 1 0 0 0 16 6 10 20 14 6
 Kevin Klein D 16:28 2 0 1 2 18 7 11 22 16 6
 Francis Bouillon D 13:30 1 0 0 1 9 6 3 14 15 -1
 Alexander Sulzer D 11:19 2 0 0 3 7 5 2 11 11 0
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