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game recap

Predators lose to Blue Jackets, fail to clinch berth in Central

Grigorenko breaks tie in third period, Columbus gets second win in 13 games

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

Grigorenko's go-ahead goal

NSH@CBJ: Grigorenko tips home go-ahead goal in 3rd

Mikhail Grigorenko positions himself down low and is able to redirect Vladislav Gavrikov's shot into the net to put the Blue Jackets ahead

  • 00:38 •

COLUMBUS -- The Nashville Predators failed to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth, losing 4-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday.

The Predators (29-23-2), who would have clinched with a victory, are four points ahead of the Dallas Stars for the fourth and final berth in the eight-team Discover Central Division. Tanner Jeannot and Calle Jarnkrok scored, and Juuse Saros made 23 saves for Nashville.

"It's hard to get into the playoffs," Predators coach John Hynes said. "We have to do a job. Like we've talked about, when there's big games there's tough losses. Is this a tough loss? Yeah, we all feel it, but it's how you're able to respond to this."

The Predators finish the regular season with home games against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday and Monday. The Stars have a game in hand.

"It's exciting that we're still in the driver's seat here, I believe," Nashville forward Colton Sissons said. "Two huge games against Carolina. It's an exciting time of the year."

Video: NSH@CBJ: Bjorkstrand beats Saros to knot score

Oliver Bjorkstrand had two goals and an assist in his 300th NHL game, and Elvis Merzlikins made 30 saves for the Blue Jackets (17-25-12), who missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

"We're trying to have fun," Merzlikins said. "We give everything we have for these last games. Next season will be a fresh start, and I won't ever remember this season."

The Blue Jackets split the two-game set by getting their second win in 13 games. They lost 4-3 in overtime here Monday.  

Mikhail Grigorenko put Columbus ahead 3-2 with a redirection at 13:50 of the third period, and Bjorkstrand scored into an empty net with 1 second left for the 4-2 final.

"I'm trying to be more consistent, just trying to play good hockey," Bjorkstrand said. "It'll be a long summer, but we'll remember how we finished on the year."

Jeannot put Nashville ahead 1-0 at 3:21 of the first period on a wraparound, scoring between Merzlikins' pads and the right post. 

"We worked hard," Jeannot said. "We had some sustained pressure out there, just some mini breakdowns, and they made us pay for it. … We've got to refocus, put it behind us and get ready for Carolina."

Jack Roslovic tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal at 2:08 of the second period. 

"It was a little bit of a back-and-forth affair, which isn't something we like to do as much as we did tonight," Sissons said. 

Video: NSH@CBJ: Roslovic, Atkinson set point mark on PPG

Jarnkrok took advantage of a Patrik Laine turnover to score on a 2-on-0 and give Nashville a 2-1 lead at 17:53. Laine had an errant pass carom off the boards.

Bjorkstrand tied it 2-2 at 19:09 with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle.

"It's a grind mentally," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We just want to play the games the right way, we always try to win the game, so it was nice to get the win. Our defense has played good for a couple games now, very responsible, and they have great chemistry."

NOTES: Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro was minus-1 with one shot in 14:34 of ice time after missing 13 games with an upper-body injury. … Sissons had three shots and played 15:28 after being out Monday with an upper-body injury. … Bjorkstrand has scored 175 points (82 goals, 93 assists) in his NHL career. … Roslovic scored his 100th NHL point (37 goals, 63 assists) in his 226th game. ... Cam Atkinson had an assist on Roslovic's goal for his 400th NHL point in his 625th game. He assisted on Bjorkstrand's second goal for his 401st point (212 goals, 189 assists). … Columbus announced before the game that forward Alexandre Texier is day to day with a lower-body injury and forward Zac Dalpe will miss the rest of the season with a lower-body injury. Forwards Ryan MacInnis (three shots in 9:49) and Kevin Stenlund (one hit, one blocked shot in 12:01) replaced them. … The Blue Jackets finish the season at home against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and Saturday.

Video: Bjorkstrand helps Blue Jackets push past Predators

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