The Nashville Predators threw everything plus the kitchen sink at the Columbus Blue Jackets en route to a night of domination.
Seth Jones' return was spoiled by five different Preds appearing in the goal column. Not only that, but Nashville apparently had access to a bren gun and almost broke the shot counter. Whether it was James Neal Hateful Goals™, Filip Forsberg Ass Checks™, Shea Weber bombs or free Frostys, this game had everything you could want. The Predators are rounding into perfect form just in time for the playoffs.
Nashville can now clinch a playoff spot as early as Monday if they win against a Colorado Avalanche team that has lost two in a row and dropped a 4-0 decision to the Wild team whom they are directly competition against in the standings. It's all happening.
- For the first time in 10 years, Nashville has two 30-goal scorers on the roster. As was discussed in the Links a few days ago, Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya both notched 31 goals for the Predators in 2005-2006. A few days after Filip Forsberg recorder his first-ever three zero campaign, James Neal joined him. A beautiful snipe from the faceoff circle that is quintessential Neal.
- Ok, so not only were the Preds feeding ammo into their sticks like it was their job, but they were shooting so fast and often that none of us could keep up. Four or five different members of the media contingent tweeted about their shot proficiency and every one of them had a different number. They ended the first up 27-10, which set a franchise record for most goals in a period.
- Remember when Gold Team would pump 100 shots on net and still lose? Welcome back to November/December, everyone! Boone Jenner tied the game and brought the Jackets' nightly shooting percentage to 33.3 (repeating, of course) percent. Pekka Rinne looked like he had not idea that Columbus was even allowed to send rubber his way when Brandon Saad wound up. Womp womp.
- Give some credit to Joonas Korpisalo, though. The rookie withstood a flat out assault to keep his team in the game somehow.
- There is nothing this team can't do right now. Forsberg dangles into the zone and makes a one-hand pass to the opposite wing when he's pressured by a defender. That puck makes it to Ryan Ellis who fired a slap pass straight to Mattais Ekholm. Fortune is finally smiling upon Music City, and redirect bounced off a CBJ skate and just narrowly missed being touched by Korpisalo's skate.
- The second period didn't bring as many shots, but it did treat us to the second line doing second line things. Craig Smith scored an insurance tally on an impressive sequence. Cue The Hives. Then Captain Shea Weber decided he wanted to make a score. Cue Foxy Shazam and prep your face for Frostys.
- Just want to say one last time that Eric Nystrom should not be playing on a professional hockey roster.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- James Neal: Neal now has the most goals in a season since he scored 40 in 2011-12. And people wondered if he'd ever be able to score goals without Evgeni Malkin setting him up.
- Shea Weber: A goal and an assist for Mr. Angry Pred. He was all smiles tonight.
- Playoff Chance: Sooner rather than later, Nashville is going to have a nice, shiny "x" next to their name. Enjoy it, everyone.
Tweets of the Game
This is #CBJ 41st trip to Nashville, exactly a half-season. They have five regulation wins here. Ever.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 27, 2016