Thirteen is definitely not the Columbus Blue Jackets' lucky number.
The Jackets left Nashville without a victory for the 13th consecutive time when Steve Sullivan scored the winning goal in the fifth round of the shootout to give the Predators a 4-3 victory on Thursday night.
"I just hope that it's going to continue and we need those points, especially in our division," said Nashville forward Martin Erat, who scored his fourth goal in two games. "It's four-point games and if we can win all those games, we will be in good shape at the end of the season."
Sullivan beat goalie Mathieu Garon with a wrist shot under the goalie's pad for the winner. Garon had won an NHL-record 13 consecutive shootouts.
"He had a good run with Edmonton in the past," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of Garon, who went 10-0 in shootouts in 2007-08. "We scout all the goaltenders. There are tendencies that every goaltender has, and we've tried to pick up on a couple of these tendencies. The players use that information and they go to work."
The Jackets had a chance to win it in the shootout when defenseman Fedor Tyutin beat Rinne with a backhander to start the fourth round. But Jason Arnott rolled a shot through Garon's legs to tie it, and after Rinne stopped Antoine Vermette, Sullivan tucked in the game-winner.
"On the pre-scout, we talked about guys that had been hot lately and feeling the puck, along with some of the tendencies that Garon has," Trotz said. "There were two pressure situations from the shooters' side - one was Arnott, when we needed a puck to keep us alive, and Sullivan. Sullivan loves those pressure situations. I'm glad he got one. He'd had a little bit of a dry spell. It was good to see him back on the board."
Garon had been 18-4 in the tie-breaker before Thursday. He was surprised to see Sullivan's shot cross the goal line.
"I don't know if my pad was not flat on the ice, I'll have to check the replay," Garon said. "I thought I had him when I saw him make his move."
It was a disappointing outcome for Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock, who felt his team played well enough to go home with two points.
"I think our players are disappointed in the fact that they played well and didn't get the two points," Hitchcock said. "Nashville is probably a team that we're going to have to catch to get a playoff spot."
Nashville took three one-goal leads in regulation, only to see the Jackets pull even each time.
Dave Scatchard redirected Kevin Klein's pass behind Garon 11:03 into the game to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.
Columbus tied it at 2:58 of the second on a goal by defenseman Kris Russell's goal. Nash sent a pass from below the goal line that Nashville's David Legwand was unable to handle in the low slot. Russell controlled the puck and beat Rinne on the glove side.
Martin Erat lifted his own rebound over Garon at 4:44 to put Nashville back in front, but Raffi Torres tied it at 11:20 with a power-play goal, banking the rebound of Russell's point shot into the net off Rinne's right skate.
Arnott gave the Predators a 3-2 lead with 27.2 seconds remaining in the second with his team-leading 11th goal, but Nash's breakaway goal pulled the Jackets even for a third time.
"We gave up way too many breakaways today. They had some great chances," Trotz said. "It was entertaining for the fans, but it wasn't aesthetically pleasing for the coaches -- we'll be showing some film, I'm sure."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|Dave Scatchard (2) ASST: Kevin Klein (4), Jordin Tootoo (7)|
1 - 0 NSH
|Kris Russell (3) ASST: Rick Nash (16), Kristian Huselius (12)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Martin Erat (10) ASST: Ryan Suter (12)|
2 - 1 NSH
|PPG - Raffi Torres (10) ASST: Kris Russell (6), Fedor Tyutin (15)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Jason Arnott (11) ASST: Shea Weber (10), Ryan Suter (13)|
3 - 2 NSH
|Rick Nash (16) ASST: Kristian Huselius (13)|
3 - 3 Tie
|1||K. Huselius||M. Goc|
|2||R. Nash||M. Erat|
|3||J. Voracek||D. Legwand|
|4||F. Tyutin||J. Arnott|
|5||A. Vermette||S. Sullivan|
|Derek Dorsett Holding against Ryan Jones|
|Joel Ward Hooking against Anton Stralman|
|Mike Commodore Interference against Ryan Jones|
|Jason Arnott Slashing against Samuel Pahlsson|
|Derek Dorsett Tripping against Kevin Klein|