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game recap

Blue Jackets lose eight-round shootout against Predators, skid at eight

Saros makes 40 saves for Nashville; Columbus 0-3-5 during streak

by Robby Stanley / Independent Correspondent

Grimaldi nets shootout winner

CBJ@NSH: Grimaldi beats Merzlikins to win shootout

Rocco Grimaldi skates in and goes to his backhand to beat Elvis Merzlikins in the eighth round of the shootout

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NASHVILLE -- The Columbus Blue Jackets' skid reached eight games with a 4-3 shootout loss against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

Elvis Merzlikins made 33 saves for Columbus (30-19-4), which hasn't won since Feb. 7 (0-3-5).

Columbus is tied with the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Carolina won 6-3 at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.


[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Predators highlights]


Eleven of the Blue Jackets' past 14 games have been decided by one goal.

"I'm not worried about our strength or our effort," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "Win or lose, I just trust the team that way. They know what's going on. They've handled this situation very well. Have we gotten the total result in the past couple weeks? No. But we still scratch away. Get a point here, a point there."

Juuse Saros made 40 saves, and Rocco Grimaldi won it in the eighth round of the shootout for Nashville (30-23-8), which lost its previous two games. Filip Forsberg had two assists.

"I thought it was a gutsy effort all the way through," Forsberg said. "I thought the first period was really good. The second period was not so good, but then in the third we kind of bounced back again. They played well also, but we found a way to win."

Video: CBJ@NSH: Sissons deflects puck out of air for goal

The Predators moved within one point of the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card in the Western Conference.

"It's been a grind," said Nashville forward Colton Sissons, who tied it 3-3 at 18:57 of the second period when he redirected a shot from Forsberg. "Obviously it's been a challenging year for everyone, on personal notes and in general as a team. But we're right there in the hunt at this time of year, and honestly it doesn't get much better than that."

Forsberg scored in the first round of the shootout, and Ryan Ellis in the fourth before Grimaldi finally ended it in the eighth.

Pierre-Luc Dubois (first round) and Gustav Nyquist (fourth) scored in the shootout for Columbus.

"It's definitely frustrating," Blue Jackets forward Eric Robinson said. "We battled hard today to tie the game, and it was a hard-fought third period from both teams. Not to get the result in overtime or a shootout, yeah it stings a little bit, but take the point and move on to the next one."

Ryan Johansen gave Nashville a 1-0 lead 33 seconds into the first period on a rebound in front of the net, and Mikael Granlund made it 2-0 at 10:31 of the first.

"I don't think we're going to be looking back at this game in a month," Johansen said. "All we're going to look at is the points we got, and we'll take that and move forward."

Video: CBJ@NSH: Johansen cleans up rebound to open scoring

Boone Jenner scored on a rebound of Nathan Gerbe's shot at 1:00 of the second period to make it 2-1, and Robinson tied it 2-2 at 4:50 on a one-timer from the slot.

Emil Bemstrom gave Columbus a 3-2 lead at 17:21 of the second with a power-play goal.

The Blue Jackets outshot the Predators 20-11 in the second period.

"You have a lot of chances there, you like to see results," Robinson said. "To tie it up in the second is obviously a good thing."

Saros made 11 saves in the third.

Video: CBJ@NSH: Granlund finishes off the feed from Forsberg


They said it

"I know I keep getting asked the question, 'How about the mindset of the team? Are they going to get down?' This team won't get down. That's one thing I fully trust is they're together and they'll keep on playing and try to find a way." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella

"One of the things we've talked about is being better at home on Saturday nights and making sure that we were mentally prepared to play and get off to a good start. I think we did that. In the second period we didn't play as well and they climbed back in the game, but we stuck with it and found a way to tie the game. That's another step for our team, the fact that we gave up the lead. But we found a way to be able to tie it and then dig in in the third period and find a way to win the game in a shootout." -- Predators coach John Hynes


Need to know

Ellis had an assist, his first point in his second game since returning from an upper-body injury that kept him out 20 games. … It was Robinson's first goal since Jan. 7; Bemstrom hadn't scored since Jan. 16. … Blue Jackets forward Markus Nutivaara has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past six games.


What's next

Blue Jackets: Host the Ottawa Senators on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, RDS, TSN5, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the Senators on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Video: Predators defeat Blue Jackets in shootout, 4-3

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