Blue Jackets-Predators Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (17-29-2) at Nashville Predators (28-12-6).
TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EST.
The Nashville Predators have forced overtime with third-period goals in three of their last four games, but haven't come away with wins in any of them.
The Predators look for just their second win in five games when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The run of third-period comebacks began Jan. 11 against the Atlanta Thrashers when Yanic Perreault scored with 4:26 remaining in regulation.
Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped three straight shootout attempts to stick Nashville with a 4-3 loss.
Two nights later Martin Erat scored his second goal of the third period with 69 seconds remaining to tie Carolina, but Hurricanes defenseman Frantisek Kablerle scored on a penalty shot in overtime for a 5-4 decision.
Nashville overcame a two-goal deficit Thursday against the New Jersey Devils, who were in pursuit of their eighth straight victory. It was Erat again scoring the tying goal with 10:03 left to set up overtime.
After the five-minute session, Viktor Kozlov and Brian Gionta scored for the Devils in the shootout. Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya both missed for the Predators in a 4-3 loss.
"I'm not disappointed," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "They have a tremendous record when leading after two periods. We got it to overtime and gave it our best shot. Losing to Martin Brodeur in a shootout is certainly not a disgrace." Brodeur has allowed just two goals in 18 shootout attempts this season.
Columbus continues to rebound after a poor start. The Blue Jackets have gone 8-4-1 since Dec. 26 after Friday's 4-3 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues.
The Blue Jackets improved to 4-2 in shootouts when Rick Nash scored the only shootout goal of the game. He made a move toward the right post, returned to the left post and beat St. Louis goalie Curtis Sanford with a backhand shot.
"I saw that move a couple of weeks ago in a game and it looked like a pretty good move to use in a shootout," Nash said with a grin.
Nash didn't score during regulation for a second straight game after producing nine goals and seven assists during a nine-game point-scoring streak.
With 41 saves against the Blues, goaltender Marc Denis has faced an average of 39 shots a game in his last nine appearances, going 6-3-0. Columbus has allowed 41 shots a game over its 8-4-1 surge.
STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 36 points, 4th place, 29 PB, Central Division. Predators - 62 points, 2nd place, 3 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Nikolai Zherdev, 14 goals; Bryan Berard and David Vyborny, 18 assists; Vyborny, 31 points; Jody Shelley, 102 PIM. Predators - Sullivan, 23 goals; Kariya, 29 assists; Sullivan and Kariya, 43 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 107 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 19): Blue Jackets - Power play: 13.5 percent (36 for 267), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.8 percent (265 for 320), 13th. Predators - Power play: 19.0 percent (55 for 290), 12th. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (252 for 299), 8th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Denis (10-17-0, 1 SO, 3.31 GAA); Pascal Leclaire (4-9-2, 0, 3.52). Predators - Tomas Vokoun (22-9-5, 1, 2.67); Chris Mason (5-2-1, 0, 2.95).
SEASON SERIES: Predators, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 23; Predators, 5-4. At Columbus, Ohio, the Predators scored four first-period goals and five different players got on the scorecard. Jaroslav Balastik scored twice for the Blue Jackets.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 6-17-2 on the road; Predators - 18-5-1 at home.