The Blue Jackets suffered a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Sunday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena.
Game in a Paragraph
It was a mirror imagine of Saturday's matinee, as Columbus took a 1-0 lead only to watch Nashville respond to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Columbus pushed for the tying goal but couldn't find it, and Nashville scored shorthanded late, with the CBJ falling to 1-5 this year vs. the Predators and 1-5-2 in the last eight games.
Quote of the Game
Seth Jones: "Not much is being said (in the room). Obviously, no one likes to lose, of course. We find ourselves in a situation that only the guys in the room can get us out of. We'll continue to work at the things we need to do to win hockey games."
- Kevin Stenlund notched his fourth goal of the season when he got on the board in the first period.
- Joonas Korpisalo turned in another solid outing in his fourth start in six days, stopping 26 shots.
- Jones had an assist, giving him a 1-10-11 line in the last 13 games with points in nine of those contests.
Video: Blue Jackets, 1 - Predators, 3
As it has often this year, Columbus got an early goal to take a 1-0 lead. The team's fourth line tallied on its first shift of the game, keeping the puck in the offensive zone for a long stretch thanks to a solid forecheck and getting the reward when Stenlund scored. Jones' shot from the point deflected to Riley Nash in front, and he drew in the defense before feeding Stenlund alone at the right post for shot past goalie Juuse Saros.
But as it has often this year, Columbus gave it away quickly as Nashville knotted the score at 7:05. A CBJ clearing attempt was intercepted by Ryan Johansen at the blue line, and he fended off a check before finding Viktor Arvidsson low on the left; from there, Arvidsson centered to Nick Cousins for a tip-in in front of Joonas Korpisalo.
The CBJ goalie was strong otherwise in the period, and he got some help as Calle Jarnkrok hit the post later in the frame while Colton Sissons fired wide with a largely open net on a nice feed from Roman Josi. Erik Haula also fired wide on a shorthanded breakaway.
The second period was even as far as play, but not on the scoreboard as Nashville got the only goal of the period, tallying on the power play near the midway point. The Jackets just couldn't get a clear and Nashville took advantage, as Filip Forsberg's seam pass found Eeli Tolvanen at the left dot, and his shot hit the post then Korpisalo before dribbling into the net to give the Predators a 2-1 lead at the 9:44 mark.
Columbus created more chances as the period went on with Patrik Laine involved in most, but Saros stopped one of his patented power-play drives and the Jackets couldn't capitalize on the rebound in one of the better chances. Forsberg also hustled back and slid to break up a 2-on-1 with Cam Atkinson and Max Domi.
Jack Roslovic got a clean look at Saros off a breakout pass early in the third, but he fired high looking for the top corner, while Laine couldn't quite find Emil Bemstrom at the back door on a chance after that.
Korpisalo made a diving save after Arvidsson got him down on a rush and then tried a wraparound pass to Johansen at the far post, keeping it 2-1, but despite some looks, Columbus couldn't find the equalizer. Even a late power play didn't help, as Haula got a shorthanded breakaway and finished things off with a goal to make it 3-1 with 1:52 to go.
1. Offensive drought: After a 20-game start to the season where the Blue Jackets were ceding goals at an uncharacteristically high level, Columbus has given up just seven tallies in the last three games. And yet the Jackets have lost all three games in that stretch, following a 2-0 setback Thursday vs. Chicago with 2-1 and 3-1 losses in Nashville. The power play has been held scoreless in those games, and the Blue Jackets just haven't been able to generate enough offensively at 5-on-5 to make up for it. It's a hodgepodge of issues that all seem to build on each other -- not enough of a net-front presence, not enough zone time, and some bad luck as well -- but it all seems to go back to a common theme. "I just think we need to let loose on how tight we're gripping our sticks," Jones said. Stenlund, meanwhile, thinks the goals will come. "We just have to keep working," he said. "The puck will go in."
2. Another blown lead: The good news -- Columbus leads the NHL when it comes to scoring first, as the Jackets have taken a 1-0 lead in 16 of their 23 games thus far. The other side is some bad news -- the Blue Jackets are just 6-6-4 in those games. Somehow, the strong starts just haven't translated to results in the win-loss column. It just goes back to the inconsistencies the team has had, as finding a full 60 minutes has been a struggle this year. Anytime the Jackets seem to get momentum rolling the right direction, a mistake follows that wipes out the good work. Jones said that the cycle has not become a mental block yet, though. "We're not thinking about that at all," he said. "We get up by a goal, we want to keep attacking. We want to get up by two goals, three goals."
3. A house of horrors: If you're looking for a fun weekend excursion, Nashville isn't a bad place to go. There's live music everywhere, who doesn't enjoy some hot chicken, and there are plenty of cool neighborhoods, from The Gulch to the honky tonks that line Broadway and make the city one of the top vacation destinations in the country. But if you're the Blue Jackets, Music City is the opposite of a good time. Columbus is just 1-8-1 in its last 10 games in Nashville, and overall, Columbus has just nine wins in 49 games all-time. That includes an 0-4 mark this year. It would be hard to believe if we hadn't lived it over the years. The funny thing: Columbus was actually 2-1 in Nashville its inaugural season, then won just twice over the next nine years (the current streak includes a single win in the last seven campaigns). Thank goodness, at least, the trips to Tennessee are over for the season.
Nashville led after the second period for the second game in a row, the team's first leads after 40 minutes all season. … Columbus has now been outscored 31-14 in the second period this year. ... The Blue Jackets finished 0-for-3 on the power play and 0-1 on the PK. … Forsberg has a seven-game point streak vs. Columbus in Bridgestone Arena.
The Blue Jackets made no changes to the 18-skater lineup. Scratches were forward Mikhail Grigorenko as well as defensemen Dean Kukan and Scott Harrington.
Columbus returns home to host Detroit on Tuesday night at 7 p.m., with 1,953 fans being welcomed back to Nationwide Arena for the game.