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Predators 7, Blue Jackets 2 @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville coach Barry Trotz told his team to shoot first and worry about passing the puck later.

The Predators heeded his advice Saturday night and fired a season-high 48 shots at Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal Leclaire in a 7-2 victory. It was the second time this season the Predators have scored seven goals against the Blue Jackets.

``Those 48 shots were realistic shots,'' Trotz said. ``We drove through the middle as much as we could. We created outside lanes. We shot the puck a lot. If you throw the puck at the net you have a good chance of it going in.''

Everyone contributed for the Predators with five players having multipoint performances. Scott Hartnell and Paul Kariya each had two goals and an assist. Marek Zidlicky scored a goal to go with two assists. Jerred Smithson assisted on three goals, and Kimmo Timonen helped set up two. A total of 11 players had at least one point.

``I thought our whole roster played well,'' Trotz said. ``That's how you win in this league. You need 20 guys to contribute. We played a real smart game in terms of puck management. We did a real solid job with the puck. We had no blind or hope passes. I think we managed the game well.''

Trotz also praised his team's defensive efforts, especially the shutting down of Columbus' top line of Rick Nash, Sergei Fedorov and Nikolai Zherdev.

``Defensively, we were real good,'' Trotz said. ``We had inside position. We battled one-on-one. We limited their chances.''

The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead 8:46 in on Trevor Letowski's short-handed goal, but the Predators dominated the rest of the way.

Nashville tied it just 1:28 later when Greg Johnson's shot deflected in off Hartnell's right skate. Kariya gave the Predators a 2-1 lead with 31 seconds left in the first period. His backhander beat Leclaire to his glove side.

Yanic Perreault made it 3-1 at 1:29 of the second period as he skated across the crease and tipped a shot attempt from Zidlicky past Leclaire.

Letowski had a chance to trim the Predators' lead on a penalty shot 28 seconds into the third period, but he was denied by Tomas Vokoun.

``That was the turning point,'' Trotz said. ``That was a big save.''

Nashville capitalized on a pair of power-play opportunities in the third period with Zidlicky scoring from the top edge of the left circle at 5:07 and Hartnell tipping in a shot attempt by Kimmo Timonen at 6:38.

``We gave up three power-play goals,'' Letowski said. ``Anytime you do that it is tough to win, especially on the road.''

The teams combined for three goals in 22 seconds during the third period.

Bryan Berard scored a power-play goal for Columbus, two days after it was revealed he failed a drug test in November for a banned steroid and was suspended from international competition for two years.

Nashville answered with two goals. Kariya scored with a high shot 14 seconds after Berard's goal, and Darcy Hordichuk scored 8 seconds later as he slide face down on the ice at 13:35.

``Columbus scored a goal and we needed something to happen,'' Trotz said. ``Paul got the puck right back and scored. He stepped up and got it done.''

Columbus coach Gerard Gallant thought his team played a solid game for 40 minutes before collapsing in the third period. He pointed to the eight penalties by the Blue Jackets as the difference in the game.

``For two periods we were right with them,'' Gallant said. ``If it wasn't for the penalties I thought it was an even hockey game. Everything just went against us.''

Notes: Rick Nash hasn't recorded a point for Columbus in three games. ... The Predators are 12-1-1 against Central Division teams. ... Kariya extended his point streak to six games (2 goals, 5 assists). ... Perreault has a seven-game point streak (5 goals, 4 assists). He has 21 points in 20 games (11 goals, 10 assists).

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