The Blue Jackets’ December points streak came to an end in definitive fashion in their last game before the Christmas break, a 5-1 home loss at the hands of the Nashville Predators.
Despite all other stats suggesting a close game, including the Preds only out-shooting Columbus by a 35-31 mark and possession being a roughly 53-47 Corsi-percentage split for Nashville as well, this game never felt all that close. With both teams playing fairly conservative and fairly risk-free for much of the night, it appeared the game would be decided by whomever made the first mistake. Columbus made a couple too many.
PREDATORS 5 | BLUE JACKETS 1
THE DISALLOWED GOAL
For the second time this season, the Blue Jackets suffered a lopsided home loss that could’ve been averted with a little luck early on. The Jackets lost 5-0 to Detroit in November after a Boone Jenner goal was disallowed in the first period for a distinct kicking motion. They received familiar bad news during another first period controversy on Monday.
The Jackets appeared to have taken an early lead when Nick Foligno found the rebound of Jeremy Morin’s shot off a 2-on-1. Foligno collected the loose puck skated across the front of the net on his forehand, and slid it into the open side. The call on the ice was a goal but the Predators protested, claiming the net had been knocked off the mooring.
Upon further review, the net had been kicked off the moorings by Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne as he pushed off the near post to track Foligno cutting across the front of the goal mouth. With the one post completely off the mooring, and the puck still not released from Foligno’s stick, the goal would not be allowed to stand. As Rule 78.5 states, a goal will be disallowed, “When the net becomes displaced accidentally. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal."
THE MENTAL MISTAKES
With both goaltenders keeping things in check and the possession battle mostly even for the night, the question was who would blink first. It ended up being the Blue Jackets, and glaringly so, as they gave up two odd-man goals just 1:38 apart in the third period.
At 7:47 of the second period, Colin Wilson broke in behind the Blue Jackets’ defense for a breakaway goal and a 1-0 Predators lead. Shortly after, the Jackets were burned on another quick transition in the neutral zone. Shea Weber took advantage of a turnover just outside the Predators’ zone and reversed the flow with a quick-up pass back to the Columbus blue line for Mike Ribeiro. Jack Johnson had been trying to join the rush and was caught up ice, creating the 2-on-1 for Nashville finished by Craig Smith’s first goal of the evening.