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Columbus 4, Nashville 0: Preds go boom in the 3rd

Heading into the 3rd period of a scoreless game against a key division rival, the Nashville Predators came out flat and gave up four goals to the Blue Jackets, getting outshot 13-3 over the final 20 minutes in what was one of the most frustrating outings of this season. With the loss, the Preds are sure to drop in the Western Conference standings, with several teams nipping at their heels including the hard-charging Blue Jackets, who have now gone 7-1-1 in their last 9 games.

Follow after the jump for all the details...

The Chicago Blackhawks are here on Thursday followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday afternoon, so take the OTF Discount and save money on Nashville Predators tickets on these, or any other home game!

First, let's start off with the video highlights:

  • While they seemed to govern the flow of the game fairly well at the start, it was the Blue Jackets putting all the early shots on net. The Preds got in behind the Columbus defense a couple times, but failed to turn those chances into scoring opportunities.
  • Jonathon Blum looked pretty good in his NHL debut, moving the puck quickly under pressure from some hard-charging Columbus forwards. He got crunched into the boards a couple times and coughed the puck up, but you have to make a little allowance for those first-game jitters.
  • Talk about a roller-coaster of emotions: during that 2nd period PK when R.J. Umberger completely split the defense pairing of Kevin Klein and Shane O`Brien, walking in all alone, only to be stopped by Pekka Rinne...
  • Two thoughts on the Nash goal which opened the scoring in the 3rd. First, wouldn't it be nice to have a Predator who could drive the defense wide and aggressively attack the net? Secondly, file that one for the Kevin Klein haters, he really didn't challenge Nash at all, just swiping at the puck along the blueline before chasing Nash back to the goal. The lesson there is that as a defenseman, you have to skate "hard to the post", taking the direct path to the net and try to cut off the attacker.
  • Already down 1-0, the power play goal given up to Calvert was a real back-breaker. On a PK situation you really don't like to see both your goalie and a defenseman behind the net handling the puck, for just that reason, all it takes is one bad bounce and you're screwed.
  • As for the Vermette goal to make it 3-0? That goose was already cooked.
  • You know, if we had an enforcer on the ice, maybe they'd pummel Grant Clitsome for that atrocious knee that he threw into Joel Ward. That was nasty, nasty stuff, and I didn't see any response by the Preds there (other than Leggy getting reckless with his stick and negating the upcoming power play.
  • The bottom line here is that we had a tie game against a key rival heading into the 3rd period, and Nashville just got steamrolled. They spent pretty much the entire period in their own end of the ice, and no matter how good you are defensively, bad things will eventually happen.
  • Who knows, maybe Scott Arniel just posted Chris' preview in the Columbus locker room to motivate his boys. Boy, are the Blue Jacket fans eating that up tonight.

Oh, and the "Comment of the Game" goes to Griz-ATL:

Have you ever taken your dog to the vet and afterward he had to wear one of those cone things around his head? You know the look the dog gives you when he's wearing that thing? You know, the "why the **** are you making wear this's humiliating...take it off now" look?

That's the look Steve Sullivan has on his face because of the mask he's required to wear to protect his face. I notice he's trying a different one tonight. I feel sorry for the poor guy.

For even-strength stats, just hop on over to tonight, I'll try and throw my table in here later on.