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Mully's Musings: vs. Columbus

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
It doesn’t matter what a team’s record is, or its history in another club’s building. In the NHL, any team can win on any given night.

Nashville found that out the hard way on Saturday.

Columbus ended a record winless streak at Bridgestone Arena and defeated the Predators 4-3 in overtime. The Blue Jackets entered with the worst record in the NHL and Nashville had defeated them 17 consecutive times in Bridgestone Arena, which was the longest streak for any team in the NHL. But all that changed.

The game started chippy as two fights broke out in the opening minutes, but things quickly settled down. Columbus came back to tie it twice, then took a 3-2 lead at 1:45 of the third on a power play goal by R.J. Umberger. Less than three minutes later, Nashville came back and knotted it at 3-3 on a goal by Nick Spaling to eventually get the game to overtime and earn the Predators a point. Columbus’ James Wisniewski scored the overtime winner at 2:43.

Still, Nashville has earned six of a possible eight points during its first four games of this five-game home stand. The Predators will host Edmonton on Tuesday before heading out for a five-game road trip. Here are the musings…

A veteran returns: David Legwand returned from injury and finished with one assist in 18:28 of ice time. Legwand, who was a +1, helped set up the first goal by Colin Wilson with a shot from the point on the power play. Legwand sustained an upper body injury early in the game at L.A. on Nov. 8 and missed the next four games. He had been one of Nashville’s best producers until the injury. In the four games prior to L.A., he had six points (three goals, three assists). He looked fully healthy, and if he plays close to the level that he was before the injury, he will be a key part of Nashville’s upcoming road trip after Tuesday’s game against the Oilers.

Spals comes on: Blake Geoffrion was a healthy scratch on Saturday, and Nashville Coach Barry Trotz said he is in a small group of players are performing at the exact level. That’s not exactly a good thing. Trotz said Nick Spaling was in that group as well, but Spaling appeared to break out of that cluster on Saturday. He scored the tying goal at 14:24 of the third, and Nashville would get to overtime. Spaling played 14:04 and finished at +1. He now has five points (two goals, three assists) in 14 games and needs to keep it up to emerge from that group that has Trotz a tad frustrated.

A positive presence: It’s no secret that good things happen when Captain Shea Weber is on the ice. But this is getting ridiculous (in a good way for Nashville). Weber has now been on the ice for the Preds’ last 12 goals, which stretches back to Nov. 9 at Anaheim. Weber finished Saturday with two assists, a +1 rating and team highs in shots (five) and ice time (25:08). He leads the NHL with a +19.

D Shea Weber: “It’s been a long time (since Columbus won here), but they’re still a good hockey team over there. They’re playing well right now. If they keep playing like that, they’re going to get some points.”

F Nick Spaling on his goal: “It was a good shot by Webs. I just got a stick on it and it snuck in.”

Barry Trotz: “They were checking really well. I give Columbus full credit. Their record is not an indication of how good of a team they are. They’re very talented and have been playing pretty well. Their work ethic has been really good.”

D James Wisniewski, Columbus: Game-winning goal, 1 assist, team-high 5 shots
D Shea Weber, Nashville: 2 assists, team-high 5 shots, team-high 25:08
G Curtis Sanford, Columbus: Stopped 27 of 30 shots to earn the win

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