The Blue Jackets came in to Nashville eager to test-drive their new-look roster, especially deadline acquisition Marian Gaborik. Nashville was without the services of Martin Erat, (who was too busy playing against the Islanders in Washington) but they did get Mike Fisher back from injury. No one envisioned these two teams battling it out in the playoff bubble this season, but both are basically in must-win mode for every remaining game.
Columbus opened the scoring on a 4-on-3 power play, but Nashville would respond four minutes later with a Kevin Klein marker on an extended and dominating shift. After an intense goalie's duel, Columbus would break through again and again, downing the Predators at home, 3-1.
More thoughts and notes on the game:
- Sergei Bobrovsky kept his team in the game. Not to take anything away from Pekka Rinne, but Bob's play in this game was nothing short of spectacular. He robbed chance after chance from Nashville and he's really made the most of his number one role this season.
- If you were watching the FS-TN broadcast tonight, you saw David Poile talking to Pete Weber during the first intermission about Filip Forsberg. Poile said Forsberg should be over here by the end of next week and get in a couple of practices with the club. Contain yourselves, everyone.
- Gaborik made the most of his new surroundings, picking up both his first assist and first goal in tonight's game. Even though he has been having an off year, and fell out of John Tortorella's good graces, there is every reason to believe he will be a force with the Jackets.
- Matt Calvert has been having some tough luck recently in regards to pucks going off his skate into the net. This one was definitely more glaring than the one in Edmonton, and was sure to get overturned. Preds get a glorious second chance.
- Too bad they did nothing with it. Not long after, Calvert got another look and, this time, made sure the puck went off his stick before going into the net. Not a good goal for Rinne to give up at that juncture of the game.
- The Predators could not buy a goal tonight. They should have scored about five times in that last sequence with the goaltender pulled. Also, Kostitsyn, Smith and Legwand all had chances where they snuck past defenders and were alone (or close to it) when shooting at Bobrovsky.
- As our good friends at The Predatorial noted, that was Columbus' first regulation win in Nashville since April 3rd, 2006. They made sure end their Central Division rivalry with a bang.
While this wasn't going to be the easy win it may have seemed like a few weeks ago, it was still imperative to get a win with a back-to-back with Chicago looming. Injuries to players on and off the ice and adjusting to life without Marty aside, they could not afford to lose this game. Plain and simple.
The chance of hockey in May is just under 7% if you are into such things. Save for games against the rebuilding and retooling Flames and Stars, the schedule doesn't get any easier from here. Buckle up everyone, it's going to get excruciatingly bumpy.
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