Mike Fisher has been a thorn in the Blue Jackets’ side this season, and he continued to be just that Monday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Predators center scored a pair of goals – including the game-winner on the power play – in a 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets in front of 14,310. Nashville took control of the game in the second period, after the Blue Jackets scored to tie the game, and never looked back, winning their third straight game and eight of nine overall.
Fisher scored the game’s first goal following a Columbus turnover in the defensive zone. Antoine Vermette attempted a breakout pass that was picked off by Martin Erat, and the Predators winger found Fisher alone in the slot. The ensuing wrist shot made it a 1-0 lead for Nashville at 8:07 of the first period, and the Predators are pretty tough when they tally first – after tonight, they are 20-2-3 in those situations.
Rick Nash made sure the Blue Jackets stayed in the battle with a highlight-reel goal in the second period. Vermette intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and led Nash at the offensive blue line, and big No. 61 beat Shea Weber to the outside for a clean look at Pekka Rinne. With his long reach, Nash deked to the forehand and buried his team-leading 17th of the season at 6:14.
As the second period drew to a close, the Blue Jackets were less than 30 seconds away from taking a 1-1 tie into the third period. But with the Jackets serving a penalty for too many men on the ice, Fisher cashed in for his second of the night. Weber’s point blast produced a rebound that Fisher was able to deposit for his 11th of the year at 19:31, helping the Predators improve to 15-2-2 when leading after 40 minutes.
Matt Halischuk and Patric Hornqvist added goals in the third period for Nashville, who finished their season series against the Blue Jackets with a 5-0-1 record.
Fisher’s late goal in the second period gave Nashville all the momentum it needed going into the final stanza, capitalizing on a bad line change by the Blue Jackets. Columbus had been solid on the penalty kill throughout the game before the Fisher goal, and all it took was one opportunity for Weber to unleash his wicked slap shot. The rebound left a wide-open net for Fisher who was camped in the left circle, and he scored a game-changing goal for the Predators.
The Blue Jackets allowed the first goal of the game for the 25th time this season. The club is now 3-20-2 in those games, while going 2-12-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-17-1 after two periods. Columbus is now 19-40-10 all-time against Nashville, including a 5-24-6 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
Nash has points in five of the last eight games after scoring the 17th goal of the season tonight. He has 5-1-6 in those games, as well as 13-8-21 the last 30 games after being held to 1-3-4 the previous 10 games. He has scored 13 goals the last 29 games after being held to three goals the first 19 games of the season. He has collected 20-16-36 in 51 career games against the Predators.
Vermette has points in six of the last seven games after notching an assist on Nash’s goal. He has 1-5-6 during that stretch after being held to 1-1-2 the previous 13 games. He won 13-of-21 face-offs (61.9 percent) and entered the night ranked fourth in the NHL in face-off win percentage.
vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Times Forum | Tampa, Fla.
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com