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game recap

Defensemen lead Predators past Blue Jackets

Weber, Josi each finish with multiple points; Nashville can clinch playoff berth on Monday

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE - Shea Weber had a goal and an assist, and Roman Josi had three assists to help guide the Nashville Predators to a 5-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. 

Josi's three assists gave him 56 points (12 goals, 44 assists) this season and tied the franchise record for points in a season by a defenseman. Weber had 56 points in 2013-14.

"[Weber] has been a great role model for me," Josi said. "Having as much points as him is a big honor for me. He's been one of the best defensemen in the League for years, and I've learned so much from him. It's definitely a big honor for me." 

Pekka Rinne made 17 saves for the Predators (39-23-13), who can clinch a berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a regulation win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday. 

"It would be great," Josi said. "We've been working really hard to get into the playoffs, and obviously if you can secure a playoff spot you want to do it as quick as possible."

Video: CBJ@NSH: Weber rockets home one-timer on power play

The Predators had 27 shots on goal in the first period to set a new franchise record. The previous record was 24, which Nashville accomplished twice; once in 2009-10 and 2014-15. 

Columbus (30-37-8) has lost six of its past eight (2-6-0). 

"Totally overwhelmed," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "Totally overwhelmed. That's all you need to know. I am not going to answer or dissect or talk about the game. It won't do anybody any good for me to go any further, and we were overwhelmed from the start of the game to the end."

Video: CBJ@NSH: Neal snipes the puck home, opens scoring

James Neal gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 3:04 of the first on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle. Neal took the pass from Ryan Johansen and beat Korpisalo for his 30th goal. 

"You just look at playing complete games, you need to at this time of the year to have success against any team," Johansen said. "We really started tonight, every line was. Huge credit to the guys on this team tonight. We didn't give them a sniff at all. Usually there are some momentum swings, but for the most part we handled them really well." 

Boone Jenner scored for Columbus to tie the game 1-1 at 11:52. Brandon Saad took the original shot and Jenner was able to shoot the rebound past Rinne for his 28th goal.

Video: CBJ@NSH: Jarnkrok tips home Josi's slap pass

Mattias Ekholm gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at 17:33 on a redirection from the slot. Ekholm took a pass from defenseman Ryan Ellis and angled the puck past Korpisalo for his eighth goal. 

Craig Smith gave the Predators a 3-1 lead at 6:11 of the second on a wrist shot from the slot. Weber took the original shot from the point that was blocked and Smith was able to get to the loose puck and shoot it past Korpisalo for his 19th goal. 

Weber gave Nashville a 4-1 lead at 14:14 of the second period on the power play. Mike Ribeiro made a cross-ice saucer pass from the half-wall and Weber one-timed the puck past Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo for his 18th goal.

Video: CBJ@NSH: Rinne, Weber make awesome saves

Calle Jarnkrok gave the Predators a 5-1 lead 23 seconds into the third period on a redirection. Josi made a shot pass from the point that Jarnkrok redirected past Korpisalo for his 14th goal. 

Johansen and Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones played against their former teams for the first time since they were traded for each other on Jan. 6. 

"It's awesome," Johansen said. "I hadn't really had time to think about it. Just to be on the bench and out there on the ice and seeing how hard these guys worked and how bad I wanted to win it too. You know, it was a unique situation for sure. It was a lot of emotions before, but it was a lot of fun and just so happy how hard we played tonight."

Video: NSH Recap: Josi, Weber each tally three points in win

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