With just two preseason games left in the schedule, the Blue Jackets headed to Nashville. The team scored three goals, withstood a third period rebound by the Predators, and won in the shootout to earn a 4-3 win over the Predators.
The first two goals of the game, one for each side, came fast and furious within less than a minute of one another.
3:38 into the opening period, Nick Foligno passed from the below the goal line to Oliver Bjorkstrand who got a clean look at the net and shot the puck past Pekka Rinne to claim the first lead of the night for the Jackets.
But on the very next shift, just 26 seconds later, the Predators skated down the ice and evened the score at 1-1 with a goal from Scott Hartnell who fired from the left half boards.
Play went back and forth through the period until each team took a penalty. The infractions overlapped, resulting in a 60 second Blue Jackets power play that would carry into the middle frame.
The Jackets wasted no time capitalizing to the man advantage after the first intermission. 30 seconds into the period, Artemi Panarin levied a cross zone pass to Alexander Wennberg who fired from the left circle. Foligno was net front to tap the puck in and set the score at 2-1 with a power play goal.
Each team surged offensively in the second. First it was the Jackets who set up camp in front of RInne and generated eight shot attempts. Then it was Nashville who pushed play towards Sergei Bobrovsky. But the two-time Vezina winner was solid, including two big saves he made on Ryan Johansen.
With just under five minutes before the second intermission, the Jackets scored again. Wennberg got the puck to Panarin who again with laser-sharp accuracy, passed across to Werenski in the left circle. The big defenseman did not hesitate and beat Rinne to make it 3-1.
But in the third period the Predators fought back. On a delayed penalty, Kevin Fiala took a cross crease pass and scored. The goal narrowed the Jackets' lead to one (3-2). Then, with just over five minutes remaining, Matt Irwin tied the game at 3-3 with a shot from the point.
That score would stand through regulation and the resulting overtime and so the teams went to shootout to decide the game.
In the skills competition, Fiala scored for the Predators, but Viktor Arvidsson and Johansen were stopped. Wennberg and Panarin potted goals for the Jackets to secure the win.
The Jackets are now 3-3-1 through seven preseason games.
There's only one more dress rehearsal before the curtain raises on the 2017-18 season. The Jackets play in Pittsburgh on Saturday at 4 p.m.
By the numbers:
2: Three Jackets earned two points in the game: Wennberg (0-2-2), Panarin (0-2-2) and Foligno (1-1-2)
4: number of penalties called in regulation. Only one was called on the Jackets, a delay of game infraction by Lukas Sedlak. The Jackets added a slashing call in overtime.
5: The number of shots on goal each by Cam Atkinson and Zac Dalpe.
26: number of seconds between the first two goals of the night.
"What they said."
Head coach John Tortorella on the importance of playing well tonight: "Both teams played their National Hockey League guys. The thing I liked about it is we played the game with pace. I'm glad it went to overtime. I'm glad we get to a shootout, just to see the dynamic of that. A lot of good things came out of the game."
Wennberg on Panarin and their line's chemisty: "(Panarin) is a hell of a player. Everybody knew that before, but you start to feel that now and I know a little bit more how he wants to play on the ice. The same thing with Cam (Atkinson). The first game we started to get a feel for each other, and it's getting better."
Bobrovsky on his 21 save performance: "It's the third game, so I keep building my game and it's coming together and I felt pretty good too. I (am just) focused on the process (right now). We have one week or so I am just trying to focus on every day and work hard."
Wennberg on the importance of winning: "Every game right now, teams are starting their best lines. It's a great opportunity to get ready for the season. It doesn't matter who you play against, you always want to win, you always want to play better. For us it was a chance to play really good hockey and I think we did."