Predators 3, Blue Jackets 0: Business As Usual In Columbus

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 19: Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators takes a shot on goalie Steve Mason #1 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during their game at Nationwide Arena on January 19, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators wasted no time getting back into the win column after Tuesday's loss to the Rangers, with a convincing 3-0 victory over their personal slump-busters, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Preds are now 48-14-1 all-time against the BJ's.

Pekka Rinne stopped 38 shots for his first shutout since November 3rd against Phoenix, while Martin Erat led the scoring pace with a goal and an assist to lift the Predators to their ninth win in the last 11 games. Jerred Smithson even earned an assist on Shea Weber's empty-net goal in Smithson's return to the lineup.

Video highlights and post-game reaction from today's win after the jump:

Video Highlights:

Post-game audio is available from Barry Trotz, Mike Fisher, and Martin Erat (click each name for the MP3).

Your random observations:

  • Give Todd Richards a bit of credit behind the Columbus bench, it certainly seemed like the Blue Jackets came out strong in the first period. This team has nothing to play for and is missing a ton of players due to injury, so that can't be easy.
  • During the game, the Blue Jackets announced that defenseman Radek Martinek will miss the rest of the season with a concussion, signing former Predator Brett Lebda (remember those heady days?) to fill the gap.
  • Erat now has 48 points in 53 career games against Columbus. The Blue Jackets have been very, very good to him.
  • Rinne's record against Columbus is now 13-4-1, with 2 shutouts.
  • Jerred Smithson went 8-for-11 on the faceoff dot, and got in 2:40 on the successful penalty kill unit.
  • Derrick Brassard had probably the best chance of the night for Columbus, with Rinne down and out, but Kostitsyn lunged and disturbed his shot just enough that it got buried into Rinne's gut rather than the wide-open net. Brassard's body language afterward just spoke of pure frustration.
  • What we saw tonight was a perfect example of the Score Effect. Once the Preds went into that 3rd period with the lead, they eased off the gas offensively and focused on just keeping Columbus out of the high-danger areas, giving up a 18-8 shots advantage in the final period.
  • This win keeps the Preds in 6th place in the West, within arm's reach of the Chicago Blackhawks, who visit Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers - Shots On Goal Chart

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