The Nashville Predators haven't let many leads slip away this season. They'll try not to let it happen for a second straight game when they host the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time in four nights on Saturday.
The Predators (11-4-2), who have lost only once in regulation since starting the season 0-3, couldn't hold on to a three-goal, second-period lead Thursday and lost 7-6 in a shootout to Minnesota.
Nashville scored three goals in each of the first two periods, but had no answer as Minnesota scored five times in the final 40 minutes to force overtime. Each team finished with 45 shots on goal.
"They just kept coming at us," Nashville goaltender Chris Mason said. "They just don't quit. I think I could have been a bit better, and I think we could have been a bit better in the defensive zone. If you give them an opportunity they are pretty deadly."
Nashville played most of the final stretch of the game without defensemen Mikko Lehtonen, who took an elbow to the head, and Shea Weber, who was hit in the face by a high stick. Their status is uncertain for Saturday.
"With only four defensemen, we had some pressure on our back end," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We were a little tired in the third period. They came in and broke us down a little bit. We lost coverage. And it only takes one guy to lose coverage in order for the other team to capitalize."
David Legwand and Steve Sullivan each scored their sixth goals of the season to share the team lead as six different Predators scored goals and thirteen different players earned points.
Nashville's offense was also in sync in Wednesday's 5-4 victory over Columbus, when the Predators scored three goals in the final period to rally for the win. Legwand had two goals in the game.
Rick Nash had two goals and an assist for Columbus in a losing effort.
The Blue Jackets (5-11-1) have continued to struggle under interim coach Gary Agnew, who lost his second game as head coach 3-0 to Colorado on Friday. Agnew took over when Gerard Gallant was fired because of the team's poor performance.
Columbus had 25 shots on goal against Colorado - its fewest in five games.
"We weren't paying the price to score," Agnew said. "We were not going to the paint. When you are going wide on a team you need to put pucks on the net and fight for a rebound."
Columbus has been shut out a league-high five times this season and twice in its last three games. The Blue Jackets will look to avoid a fourth straight loss Saturday.
The Predators will play at Columbus on Monday, leaving five more meetings in the season series for the Central Division rivals.
|Mar 10 '07||CBJ 1 at NSH 2||D. Legwand|
|Feb 25 '07||NSH 4 at CBJ 3 - SO||A. Radulov|
|Jan 18 '07||CBJ 0 at NSH 4||D. Legwand|
|Jan 13 '07||NSH 4 at CBJ 1||J. Smithson|
|Jan 12 '07||CBJ 0 at NSH 2||J. Arnott|
|Nov 20 '06||NSH 3 at CBJ 1||S. Nichol|
|Nov 18 '06||CBJ 2 at NSH 4||J. Arnott|
|Nov 15 '06||NSH 5 at CBJ 4||S. Nichol|