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Jackets Fall To Preds 4-1

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Jerred Smithson had his first career two-goal game and the Nashville Predators beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 Saturday night for their fifth straight win.

Paul Kariya and Shea Weber also scored for the Predators, who have won 13 of their last 16 and all five games against Columbus this season. Scott Nichol added two assists.

Chris Mason had 39 saves -- two short of a career high -- for Nashville, which was outshot 22-4 in a scoreless third period and 40-17 overall.

Ron Hainsey had the only goal for Columbus, which has lost four straight overall and been outscored 6-1 in back-to-back losses to the Predators.

The Predators dominated the Blue Jackets in the first period, jumping to a 2-0 lead with two early goals 2:50 apart and adding one late. Columbus didn't register its first shot until a little under 5 minutes left in the period, and were showered with boos as they skated off the ice.

Columbus goalie Ty Conklin replaced Fredrik Norrena -- who allowed the three goals on nine shots -- to start the second period.

An unnecessary rim pass by Columbus forward Nikolai Zherdev deep into his own zone led to the first Nashville score. The puck carromed off the skate of Nicol at the end boards to Josef Vasicek, who fired a shot on Norrena from the slot. Smithson tapped in the rebound at 5:06.

After another turnover by Zherdev, this one near center ice, Nicol sent a pass to a wide-open Smithson, who skated past defenseman Derrick Walser and zipped a low shot from the slot at 7:56 for his fifth of the season.

Looking like a 5-on-5 power play, Kariya took a cross-ice pass from David Legwand at the right circle and beat Norrena with a snap shot -- his 15th goal -- to give the Predators a 3-0 lead at 18:06.

Columbus' Anson Carter hit the post the first minute of the second period and the Blue Jackets continued to press, outshooting the Predators 12-4.

Nashville got into penalty trouble, taking four consecutive penalties through the first 14 minutes. Columbus capitalized on the third at 10:28 with Hainsey at the point floating the puck through traffic past Mason after a diving pass from Zherdev.

Weber responded for the Predators during one of their few times in the Columbus zone during the frame. With Nashville hounding the net with shots in quick succession, defenseman Aaron Johnson cleared the puck off the goal line, Conklin stopped a low shot and then Weber snuck one in from the low slot to make it 4-1 at 16:07 with his eighth.

Game notes
Columbus LW Rick Nash (back) missed his fourth consecutive game and C Sergei Fedorov (elbow) his third straight because of injuries. Captain and D Adam Foote (flu and back) missed his second straight. ... Nash was named on Sunday as the only Blue Jackets player to the Western Conference All-Star team. ... Nichol played his first game since being suspended for nine by the league for punching Buffalo's Jaroslav Spacek from behind. ... The Predators are 10-1-1 in back-to-back games this season.

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