Balastik Scores A Career-High Two Goals
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Balastik Scores Twice; Nashville Prevails, 5-4
Balastik Scores A Career-High Two Goals

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
Paul Kariya had assists on three of Nashville's four first-period goals, and the Predators hung on to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 Friday night.

Nashville, which entered with the second-most points in the Western Conference, scored three power-play goals for its fifth straight win and eighth in 11 games.

Yanic Perreault and Scottie Upshall each had a goal and an assist for the Predators, who've scored a power-play goal in 18 of 19 games. Scott Hartnell, Vernon Fiddler and Adam Hall also scored. Steve Sullivan, who missed a second-period penalty shot, added two assists.

Tomas Vokoun finished with 35 saves.

Jaroslav Balastik scored two power-play goals for Columbus (9-25-1), which has lost six in a row. Duvie Wescott added a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, losers of eight of 10 at home. Jason Chimera scored his first in 17 games and Adam Foote, who missed four games with a sore groin, added two assists.

With Columbus trailing 5-3, Chimera scored on a short-handed breakaway at 14:03 but the Blue Jackets couldn't mount serious pressure afterward.

Nashville, which scored six goals in a period last Saturday to beat Columbus, jumped to a 4-2 lead in a wild opening period.

The teams scored four goals in three minutes after Hartnell netted his 12th on a power play at 4:24.

Balastik tied it 1-1 at 11:06 with a low one-timer from the right circle inside the near post. Upshall returned the favor 32 seconds later with a slap shot from the left circle on a feed from Kariya to give Nashville a 2-1 lead. Just 25 seconds after that, Wescott's slap shot from the right circle beat a screened Vokoun to tie it.

Fiddler responded for the Predators, knocking a rebound of Kariya's shot past Pascal Leclaire at 14:17.

Perreault made it 4-2 with his 11th goal, tipping in Kariya's centering pass from the right circle at 19:42.

Sullivan, who has 10 points in six games, had a chance to increase the Predators' lead midway through the second period after he was pulled down from behind by Ron Hainsey on a short-handed breakaway. But, Marc Denis, who took over for Leclaire to start the second period, stopped Sullivan's shot from the slot.

Hall didn't waste his chance, scoring on the power play from down low for his seventh at 15:07.

Balastik scored again for his fifth goal of the season, jamming in a loose puck to make it 5-3 at 17:18. The play was reviewed because it looked as though he might have pushed the puck over the goal line with his hand.

Columbus, which entered with the NHL's worst power play, finished 2-for-10 with the man advantage.

Notes: Columbus entered as the league's lowest-scoring team with 68 goals. Calgary was next-to-last with 84. ... The Blue Jackets haven't scored more than four goals in a game. ... Nashville entered with 47 points, two behind Western Conference-leading Detroit. ... The Predators are the only team not to lose a divisional game in regulation (9-0-1). Columbus beat them in overtime. ... Leclaire faced 11 shots in the first period. Denis made 10 saves over the final two periods.

Balastik Scores A Career-High Two Goals
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