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Nashville Predators 6, Columbus Blue Jackets 4 FINAL

NHL.com @NHL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Scott Walker cared more about the final score than his big goal.

Walker tied the Nashville franchise record for goals, leading the Predators to a 6-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

``We're just trying to get points and win games now,'' Walker said after his 15th goal of the season gave him 81 with the Predators to tie Cliff Ronning. ``I just happened to get that goal. I didn't even know how many I had, but that's great.''

Nashville's Wyatt Smith scored his first goal in more than a year. Kimmo Timonen, Martin Erat and Vladimir Orszagh each had a goal and an assist, and Marek Zidlicky and Andreas Johansson had three assists apiece.

``They got frustrated. Everyone could see that,'' Johansson said of the Blue Jackets. ``That opened up a lot of different opportunities for us. We could take a shot or pass _ they were running around and making it easy for us.''

Scott Hartnell also scored, and Zidlicky tied a career high with his three assists.

It was the most goals scored by the Predators this season. They ran their record to 13-0-0-1 when they score at least four times.

``It's the type of a game we're going to have to expect coming down the stretch: hard battles, tough games, not much room to move out there,'' Walker said. ``Especially with the teams that are going to be a factor.''

Trevor Letowski matched his career high with two goals and three points for Columbus, and Geoff Sanderson and Tyler Wright added goals. Manny Malhotra had a career-best three points on three assists.

Each team had 31 shots and scored on half of its six power-play attempts. Columbus also had two goals waved off, including Todd Marchant's score when the referee prematurely blew his whistle with the puck still loose on the ice.

Columbus coach Gerard Gallant said that official Chris Rooney apologized. The goal would have tied the game at 2.

``If they would have counted that goal it would have made a big difference,'' Columbus defenseman Luke Richardson said.

Smith's first goal since Nov. 10, 2002, tied it at 1. Columbus goaltender Marc Denis stopped shots by Jason Morgan and Zidlicky, but Smith put in the second rebound.

The Predators made it 2-1 when Timonen scored on a hard slap shot from the top of the left circle on a power play.

In a wild second period, each team had 29 penalty minutes, three five-minute fighting penalties and one 10-minute misconduct.

``I thought Columbus spent a lot of time trying to prove how tough they were,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said.

Former Blue Jacket Jamie Allison received a 10-minute misconduct and, as he left the ice, threw his stick like a spear down the tunnel leading to the Nashville dressing room. A police officer then appeared to get in an argument with Allison.

Trotz said a fan took Allison's glove as he was headed down the tunnel. Two fans were later escorted out of the arena by police.

Hartnell made it 3-1 early in the second period with a backhander off Zidlicky's shot from the point. Orszagh then scored on a slap shot from the top of the left circle. It was the 12th goal for each.

Letowski cut the lead to 4-2 while falling to the ice. The goals by Hartnell, Orszagh and Letowski all came in a span of 1:56.

The teams traded third-period goals, with three of the four scores coming on the power play.

``It's a nice way to finish off a four-game road trip,'' Hartnell said after Nashville went 2-2. ``Anytime you can go .500 on a road trip, that's pretty good.''

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