The Blue Jackets dropped a 4-3 final to Nashville in overtime on Monday night at Nationwide Arena in the team's fourth straight game to go past regulation.
Game in a Paragraph
After a solid opening period for the Blue Jackets, Nashville surged in the second half of the third period and took a 3-0 lead into the final frame. From there, it was the Emil Bemstrom show for a while as the CBJ winger scored a natural hat trick to tie the score at 3 and earn the Jackets a point for the fourth straight game. In the extra frame, Roman Josi got the winner for the Predators, who are looking to close out the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
Quote of the Game
Bemstrom: "I am just happy that I scored some goals. Unfortunately we didn't win the game, but I think we played a pretty decent game. I am just happy. I'm proud of myself that I could get a hat trick in this league."
- Bemstrom entered the game with zero goals on the season in 16 games but notched the first hat trick of the season for the Blue Jackets. He finished with eight shots on net to lead the Jackets.
- Jack Roslovic notched six shots on goal and added two assists, leaving him one point from 100 (36-63-99) in his NHL career.
- Michael Del Zotto notched a pair of assists for his third multipoint game of the year and second vs. Nashville.
Video: Predators, 4 - Blue Jackets, 3
The teams played the first 20 minutes without a goal, though there were chances each way. Elvis Merzlikins was deputized to make some big stops in the opening frame, including a denial of Ryan Johansen from in front with the pad, a stop on Eeli Tolvanen after a CBJ turnover, and another pad save on Erik Haula on a shorthanded breakaway late in the frame.
Nashville's Juuse Saros didn't have to make quite the same number of big stops, but he was busy with 11 stops in the frame. His best came off a faceoff, as Oliver Bjorkstrand pulled the puck out of a scrum and quickly fired, but the Nashville goalie got a piece of it with his glove.
The visitors eventually got things going in the second period and scored three times in the last 10:59 of the frame to take a 3-0 lead into the locker room. First, it was Filip Forsberg who got on the board, tallying for the fourth time this year vs. Columbus. Ryan Ellis got some room to unleash a hard shot from the right side; Merzlikins made the save, but Forsberg came upon the rebound in the slot and dove to flip it home before the CBJ goalie could get back to make it 1-0 at 9:01.
Nashvile then doubled the lead on the power play at 11:29. The Preds entered just 25th in the NHL on the man advantage but scored here, as Merzlikins stretched from left to right to deny Eeli Tolvanen's one-timer off a pass from Forsberg, but former CBJ center Johansen was there to pot the rebound.
Then in the final minute of the period, the Predators made it 3-0, as leading scorer Josi took a pass from Ellis and unleashed a rocket from the center point that got by Merzlikins.
Columbus got one back early in the third as Bemstrom got his long-awaited goal, the cherry on top of a strong game that included some good looks in the second period. Roslovic won a battle for the puck in transition and got it to Bemstrom at the right post, where Saros made the stop on his initial shot, but Bemstrom batted the rebound out of the air and past the Nashville goalie for the tally 1:54 into the frame.
Then with 12:34 to go, Bemstrom made it a brace to complete a fine shift for the Swedish winger. He was denied on the doorstep by Saros earlier in the frame but didn't miss his second chance, as Mikhail Grigorenko saucered a pass to him at the right post and he whistled a shot past Saros' ear short-side to make it a 3-2 game.
Bemstrom then completed the natural hat trick with 4:53 on the clock, tallying with the Jackets on the power play. He took a pass from Seth Jones in the right circle, took some time and picked his spot, then ripped a shot past the glove of Saros to tie the score at 3.
From there, the game went to overtime, where Merzlikins made a key early stop on a Forsberg breakaway. But with 1:36 left on the clock, Josi fired through a screen and beat Merzlikins over the glove to give the Predators the victory.
Bemstrom hadn't scored since the last regular-season game of 2019-20, March 8, 2020, in Vancouver. ... He became the first CBJ player to score three goals in a period since Jeff Carter did so at Nashville on Dec. 22, 2011, and the fourth all-time. ... It is the sixth natural hat trick in franchise history and first since Brandon Saad on April 2, 2016, at Carolina. … Columbus' previous hat trick was scored by Pierre-Luc Dubois in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup qualifying series last year vs. Toronto. … Merzlikins made 34 saves on 38 shots against, while Saros made 29 saves. ... Bjorkstrand played in his 299th NHL game, all with Columbus. … Johansen scored for just the second time in 13 career games against the team that drafted him. … Columbus is now 5-12 in extra time this year (2-9 in overtime, 3-3 in shootouts). ... The Blue Jackets are 1-5-1 this season against Nashville but 1-1-1 in Nationwide Arena.
Columbus made two changes to the skater lineup, inserting Laine and Dalpe for Stefan Matteau and Ryan MacInnis. Other scratches up front were Kole Sherwood and Kevin Stenlund and Zac Dalpe, while defensemen Gabriel Carlsson, Scott Harrington and Andrew Peeke also were out along with injured goalie Joonas Korpisalo.
Columbus and Nashville do it again Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Nationwide Arena.