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Post-Game Musings: vs. Columbus

Monday, 01.23.2012 / 10:26 PM CT / Features
By Jim Diamond  - NashvillePredators.com
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Post-Game Musings: vs. Columbus
After defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 Monday night, the Predators concluded the season series with a 5-0-1 record against them, and in the process improved their record in Central Division games to 10-2-2.

The Predators have won three in a row overall and 11 of their last 13 to open up a nine point lead on ninth place Minnesota.

For the second time in as many games, the Predators came out fast in the first period Monday night. Mike Fisher’s power-play goal was the only goal of the opening period, but the Predators outchanced and outshot the Blue Jackets early. After one, Nashville held a 12-3 advantage in shots, but Columbus closed the game quickly in the second by throwing 16 shots on Pekka Rinne in the middle frame.

Columbus captain Rick Nash tallied on one of those shots to even the score, but the Predators got a momentum-swinging power-play goal from Fisher with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second to grab a one-goal lead heading into the third. Despite getting just five shots on goal in the third, the Predators scored twice to account for the final scoring margin.

Tuesday night’s game in Chicago will complete the second half of a back-to-back set, and will conclude the Predators pre-All-Star Break schedule. The game against the Blackhawks will also represent the last game of four consecutive against Central Division opponents.


THREE MUSINGS
Mike Likes the Blue Jackets: Monday night was the sixth and final meeting of the 2011-12 regular season between the Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fisher’s goal at 8:07 of the first period Monday night was his 10th goal of the season. Less than 30 seconds before the end of the second period, Fisher scored a power-play goal, giving him two on the night. Six of Fisher’s 11 goals this campaign have come against the Blue Jackets. After missing Nashville’s season opening game in Columbus, Fisher has posted at least one goal in each of the other five matchups between the teams. Known as more of a playmaker than a scorer, Fisher went without an assist against the Blue Jackets this season.

Power Play Continues to Roll: Fisher’s power-play goal late in the second, followed by Patric Hornqvist’s late in the third, gave the Preds two man-advantage markers in five opportunities Monday night. In the six games played against the Blue Jackets this season, Nashville was 9-for-17 on the power play (52.9%). Four of the nine power-play goals against Columbus came off the stick of Fisher, with Hornqvist, Ryan Suter, Sergei Kostitsyn, Colin Wilson, and David Legwand getting the others. On the season, the Predators have the league’s second-best power play with a 22.3% success rate, and the third best on home ice at 23.6%. Fisher and Hornqvist’s goals Monday night were Nashville’s 36th and 37th power-play goals of the season. They had just 41 all of last season.

There’s Something About Pekka: Monday night’s victory over Columbus was Pekka Rinne’s eighth consecutive victory. That win is a personal milestone for Rinne, and it also establishes a new franchise record for consecutive wins by a goaltender. Prior to this current stretch, the big Finn had won seven in a row once. For the season, Rinne has 27 of Nashville’s 29 victories. Rinne also improved his career record against Columbus to 14-4-1. Following the game, Head Coach Barry Trotz was asked about the key to the team’s stingy goals allowed figure lately, and he had a simple response of “35,” referring to Rinne’s sweater number.


THREE QUOTES
F Mike Fisher (On his success against Columbus): “It would be nice to see them a couple of more times, but for whatever reason, it is kind of a funny stat. I have to make sure I keep going and see if I can score against some other teams.”

G Pekka Rinne (On the second period): “We started the game pretty well, and they didn’t have a good first period. Then we kind of got away from our game a little bit in the second period and they responded. They got the momentum going.”

Head Coach Barry Trotz (On concluding the season series with Columbus): “This was the one game in terms of the score wasn’t as tight as the other ones. They challenged us all the time.”


THREE STARS
F Mike Fisher, Nashville: Two goals
G Pekka Rinne, Nashville: 25 saves (15 in the pivotal second period)
D Ryan Suter, Nashville: Two assists in first game back after missing three with an upper-body injury

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 54 33 18 3 151 128 69
5 COL 58 29 25 4 155 160 62
6 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
7 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
8 NSH 55 25 21 9 142 148 59
9 ARI 54 25 23 6 143 164 56
10 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
11 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
12 CGY 54 25 26 3 144 160 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 55 11 29 -2 40
F. Forsberg 55 18 18 -7 36
S. Weber 55 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 55 6 28 3 34
J. Neal 55 20 13 18 33
M. Ekholm 55 6 19 3 25
R. Ellis 54 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 55 11 7 -1 18
C. Jarnkrok 54 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 38 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 8 .902 2.57
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36