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Nashville Predators win sixth straight, 4-2 over Blue Jackets

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Steve Sullivan scored the tiebreaking goal on a breakaway with 1:46 left in the second period, and the Nashville Predators beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 Thursday night for their NHL-best sixth straight victory.

Columbus came in sixth in the Western Conference and two points ahead of the Predators. With the win, Nashville now has one more victory than the Blue Jackets and moved from eighth to the tie for sixth.

Vern Fiddler, Ryan Jones and Martin Erat also scored for Nashville, which has won 10 straight at home against Columbus.

Jason Williams and Rick Nash each scored for the Blue Jackets, who have not won in Nashville since April 3, 2006. Columbus played without centre Antoine Vermette, its trade deadline pickup from Ottawa.

Nashville has the NHL's stingiest penalty kill on home ice, and the Predators killed off a 2-minute 5-on-3 in the first period where Columbus had a play reviewed and ruled as no goal.

Nashville had a power-play goal wiped off in the period because Jordin Tootoo batted the puck into the net with his left hand.

But the Predators led 3-2 after a wild second period in which Columbus led 2-1 after Williams scored on a backhander past Pekka Rinne at 11:43, then Nash scored with a shot that appeared to hit off Nashville defenceman Greg Zanon's left leg at 14:05.

Nashville scored 23 goals in the previous four games, and the Predators answered again.

Ryan Jones scored at 15:39 to tie it at 2. Then Jason Arnott got the puck to Sullivan, who outskated a Columbus defender and put a backhander over Steve Mason's glove hand at 18:14.

Erat padded the lead when he tipped in a shot from Ryan Suter from the blue line at 4:24 of the third.

In this game featuring rookie goaltenders, Rinne kept Nashville in the game early and late as Columbus outshot the Predators 33-23.

One of his best saves came during the 5-on-3 after a rebound deflected out to Columbus center Jason Williams, and he shot just inside the post and was stopped by Rinne's stick.

A review came with six seconds left in the 5-on-3 with the no-goal ruling upheld after a closer look. Nash also passed to Kristian Huselius in the slot, but Rinne stopped that shot at 13:23.

Notes: Columbus played its second game without center Michael Peca (jaw). ... Nashville now is 27-6-2 when scoring first. ... Erat's goal was the 100th of his career and his first since Feb. 5. ... The Predators now have gone nine straight games at home without allowing a power play goal.

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