BLUE JACKETS 1 | PREDATORS 0
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said this morning that he expected a hard-working, tenacious effort from his group against the Predators. In more ways than one, he got just that.
FINAL: JACKETS 1 | PREDATORS 0
The pre-game talk was of lineup changes (Cam Atkinson a healthy scratch, Corey Tropp and Blake Comeau back in the mix) and they were made in effort to get some energy going through the Jackets' four lines. Against a physical team like Nashville, the Jackets wanted to match their typical fast start on home ice and bring a nasty edge of their own -- despite being out-shot in the early going, Columbus set a tone for the rest of the game in the first period.
All four lines got involved early and Sergei Bobrovsky was excellent in the first, making 14 saves as the Predators came alive. In the second period, Columbus got back to its game, getting pucks in deep behind the Nashville defense and starting to cycle the puck with regularity.
The Blue Jackets fired 36 shots at Pekka Rinne (who was also outstanding in goal) and finally broke through late in the third period. Tropp got the puck up ice to Artem Anisimov, who then executed a gorgeous give-and-go with James Wisniewski. Anisimov took the puck hard to the net and backhanded his 19th goal of the season - a new career-high - between Rinne's pads for a 1-0 lead that would stand as the game winner.
Bobrovsky recorded his third shutout of the season with a stellar 28-save effort.
Tropp saw an opportunity to inject some life into his team early in the second period, so he dropped the gloves with Predators forward Eric Nystrom right off a face-off in the neutral zone. It was a spirited bout and gave the Jackets a lift - they went on to a strong second period in which they out-shot the Predators 15-4 and started to really tilt the rink in their favor.
1. SERGEI BOBROVSKY (CBJ)
The Blue Jackets needed Bobrovsky early, and he made 14 saves in the first period as Nashville started with a flurry. He finished with 28 saves, including several clutch stops in the third, to secure his seventh career shutout.
2. PEKKA RINNE (NSH)
Rinne was outstanding for Nashville and after a 35-save performance, he was the tough luck loser tonight.
3. ARTEM ANISIMOV (CBJ)
His goal - 19th of the season and sixth in as many games - was the game-winner in a huge game for the Blue Jackets.
AT DALLAS STARS
MONDAY, 8:30 P.M.
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