One word speaks volumes for the Blue Jackets, who put together perhaps their finest road effort of the season tonight in Nashville. When James Wisniewski one-timed a slap shot from the point that sailed behind Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne at 2:40 of overtime, it signaled the end of a 17-game road losing streak at Bridgestone Arena.
The Blue Jackets, on the strength of goals from Jeff Carter, Vinny Prospal, R.J. Umberger and Wisniewski, beat Nashville 4-3 and claimed their first victory in the Music City since April 3, 2006. They earned three of a possible four points on their two-game road trip with their fathers along for the ride, and also won their first game away from Nationwide Arena this season.
Colin Wilson opened the scoring for the Predators with a power-play goal late in the first period, scooping up a loose puck and roofing it over the shoulder of Blue Jackets goalie Curtis Sanford. But Columbus had an answer.
Jeff Carter took a slick drop pass from Rick Nash at the offensive blue line and unleashed a rocket wrist shot, beating Rinne to the stick side early in the second period. Mike Fisher responded with Nashville’s second power-play marker of the game at 10:27 of the middle frame, and yet again, the Blue Jackets had a counter-punch.
On a man advantage of their own, the Blue Jackets’ top unit used excellent puck movement to find Prospal alone in front of Rinne. The savvy veteran stopped, turned and backhanded the puck into the net to square things up once more at 12:29. Umberger gave Columbus its first lead of the game at 1:45 of the third period thanks to a terrific tip-pass in the crease from Ryan Johansen. When the puck found Umberger’s stick, he had the gaping cage to bury his second of the year.
The Predators put on a late charge in the third period as they typically do on home ice. Nick Spaling took advantage of a failed clearing attempt and beat Sanford five-hole with 5:36 to play. The game went to overtime, where Wisniewski’s first goal as a Blue Jacket sent the team, their fathers and three busloads of Jacket Backers home happy.
The Blue Jackets set the tone in this game almost immediately after the puck dropped. Derek Dorsett fought Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo three seconds into the game, and he was followed by Jared Boll and Brian McGrattan squaring off at 1:02.
Those early fisticuffs got the Blue Jackets into the game right off the bat and they played a confident, clean road game in all three zones. The game certainly had a different feel to it after Dorsett and Boll dropped the gloves early on.
- The Blue Jackets went 2-of-5 on the power play tonight, their second two power play goal of the season and second in the last five games. The club is 12-for-65 (18.5 percent) the last 15 games after opening the season 0-for-20.
- Columbus is now 19-36-10 all-time against Nashville, including a 5-22-6 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
- Ironically last year’s Fathers’ trip resulted in the club losing in a shootout in the first game (Jan. 18 at Tampa Bay) and winning in overtime in the second game (Jan. 19 at Florida). This year’s trip had the team lose in a shootout Thursday at Boston and win in overtime tonight.
- Wisniewski has points in five of his last 10 games after notching a goal and an assist tonight. The goal was the overtime game-winner, his first goal since Mar. 20, 2011 at Minnesota as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, a span of 19 games.
- Carter’s goal was a beauty and couldn’t have come at a better time. It was his first goal in 12 games as he last scored Apr. 1, 2011 at New Jersey with the Philadelphia Flyers. The goal also snapped a six game pointless skid, as he last had a point with an assist Oct. 8 at Minnesota. He has collected 3-6-9 in six career games against Nashville.
- Rick Nash registered his first multi-point game since Oct. 12 vs. Colorado, a span of 14 games, with two assists tonight. The assists also snapped a three game pointless skid. He has registered 19-13-32 in 47 career games against Nashville.
- Prospal snapped a seven-game goalless skid with his team leading sixth goal tonight. He last scored Oct. 29 at Chicago.
vs. Calgary Flames
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, OH
Monday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: CD 102.5 FM & BlueJackets.com