The Blue Jackets closed out the preseason with a 7-1-0 record after a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators tonight, but that’s hardly enough to satisfy Todd Richards.
At the crux of it, Sergei Bobrovsky played a significant role in the outcome, making 45 saves to put a bow on what was otherwise a pretty one-sided game at times. The Predators controlled the first period, firing 13 shots on Bobrovsky, and got an early lead thanks to a breakaway shorthanded goal by Eric Nystrom.
BLUE JACKETS 3 | PREDATORS 2
Columbus was out-shot 17-7 in the second period and if not for Bobrovsky, it could have been a much different story entering the third period. Instead, the Blue Jackets were tied 1-1 with 20 minutes to go and they were able to take the game back - albeit briefly - and lock down their seventh preseason victory.
“The only place we beat those guys tonight is we put more pucks behind their goalie,” Richards said post-game. “They were faster than us. They were more determined than us, and they were harder in battles than us.
“For me, it’s how we play the game. This one left a sour taste in my mouth. We weren't nearly as good as we needed to be or could have been.”
On the bright side, Nick Foligno continued on a torrid preseason scoring pace and chipped in two more tonight. He scored nearly identical goals in the second and third periods - one to tie the game and another to put the Jackets ahead 2-1 - on both Nashville goaltenders, Pekka Rinne (who was also solid tonight) and Carter Hutton.
His first goal came off a 3-on-2 rush led by Brandon Dubinsky, who ladled a pass across the zone that found Foligno on the right wing. His heavy wrist shot beat Rinne off the far post and in at 14:43 of the second period and gave the Blue Jackets a much-needed jump headed into the third.
Foligno and Cam Atkinson (power play) scored in the third period and the Blue Jackets held on down the stretch, with Bobrovsky making 16 saves in the third period and holding the Predators to one goal from James Neal on a lengthy 5-on-3 that turned into a 6-on-3 with the goaltender pulled.
“By no means was that a good game for us,” Foligno said. “Bob was outstanding, as always, but we can’t make him work that hard in the regular season.”
Foligno’s second-period goal changed the momentum and got the Blue Jackets jump-started at a time when they really needed it.
1. Bobrovsky (CBJ) - 45 saves in another stellar preseason performance.
2. Foligno (CBJ) - Two gorgeous goals that were huge in reversing the tide for Columbus.
3. Johnson (CBJ) - Johnson logged 21:21 TOI tonight with four shots on goal and two assists, including a nifty pass to set up Atkinson’s goal in the third period.
UP NEXT: 2014-15 Season Opener
at Buffalo Sabres
Thursday, 7 p.m.
First Niagara Center