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Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets shut out Predators

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen -- what's left of them -- made the best of a bad situation in a 4-0 win against the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

It helped that Sergei Bobrovsky made 39 saves for his first shutout of the season, giving the Blue Jackets (8-13-0) their fourth win in five games.

"You can tell he wasn't going to let one [in]," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "That's the way it felt on the bench."

After losing defensemen Fedor Tyutin (upper body) and Cody Goloubef (fractured jaw) in the first period, the Blue Jackets, who lost 3-0 at the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, had four defensemen for the final two periods.

"Four D on back-to-back nights," defenseman Ryan Murray said. "It's a great challenge for us. That's what you live for. That's why you play hockey, for these challenges.

"We played pretty well defensively. They had a couple of Grade A chances but [Bobrovsky] came up big. We got through it well, and when we weren't there, he bailed us out."

David Savard led Columbus defensemen with 30:48 of ice time. Jack Johnson played 29:25, Kevin Connauton 24:31 and Murray 23:32.

"Those four [defensemen] that played, they got stronger as the game went on," Tortorella said. "Those four and [Bobrovsky], I couldn't ask for any more."

The Predators (11-4-3) outshot the Blue Jackets 39-18.

"We weren't hungry around the net. [Bobrovsky] was seeing a lot of our first shots," Nashville center Mike Fisher said.

Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner each had a goal and an assist, and Scott Hartnell scored an empty-net goal with 50 seconds left for Columbus.

Gregory Campbell and Johansen scored early in the first period against Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

The second period had one goal and one highlight save. Each was by Columbus.

Jenner put the Blue Jackets up 3-0 with a rebound of his shot at 5:17 of the period. His 10 goals lead Columbus.

"That was the biggest goal, knowing where our club was on the back end," Tortorella said.

Then it was Bobrovsky's turn, doing the splits and making a left-skate save on James Neal, who was parked right of the net and took a one-timer.

"I didn't think I would get it," Bobrovsky said.

Neither did Murray.

"I was standing right there," he said. "I was about to go, 'Oh man,' but he came out of nowhere like he does sometimes."

The Blue Jackets took two shots in the first 4:16 and the result was a 2-0 lead.

"We made a couple of big mistakes," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "We were in position to make the plays but we missed some assignments and it cost us a couple of goals."

Campbell's second of the season at 2:34 was set up by a blind pass from the behind the net by Kerby Rychel.

Johansen's third 1:42 later came close to not counting. He skated through the right circle then slowly drew Rinne out of the crease. Johansen went to the backhand and avoided a stick check by Rinne. At the same time, linemate Brandon Saad was shoved into the net. By the time Saad hit the back of the goal and dislodged it, the puck was across the line.

"We played a pretty good game," Predators defenseman Seth Jones said. "There's not much more we can do than put the puck in the net. We had a defensive lapse on the first goal.


"That's kind of how it went. They didn't do much after they scored their two goals, and then they got the third."

It was Bobrovsky's 12th NHL shutout.

"There were so many blocked shots," he said. "I think in the first there were 14. That was more than I had."

Columbus had 26 blocked shots, Nashville had eight.

"The D, myself included, we didn't get enough pucks through from the point," Jones said. "They did a great job of blocking pucks. We couldn't find lanes."

Nashville plays the second of a five-game trip at the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Columbus hosts the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

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