JP Dumont scored the game-winning goal with 37.5 seconds remaining in regulation and Chris Mason turned aside 30-of-31 shots as the Predators entered the Christmas break with a 3-1 win in front of 15,481 fans on Sunday evening at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Nashville received balanced offensive production as nine different Predators registered a point in the game. The win evened Nashville’s record at 16-16-2 on the season.
“We got a real good effort from our top guys tonight” Head Coach Barry Trotz said. “It was a real good complete game for us. We had good focus tonight.”
Jed Ortmeyer and Radek Bonk celebrate Ortmeyer's empty-net goal with 3.3 seconds remaining.
The game appeared headed for overtime before video review credited Dumont’s goal. Following a Blue Jackets scoring opportunity with less than a minute remaining in regulation, the Predators created an odd-man rush on the counter-attack. Dumont snapped a shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the right of the Columbus net. The puck rang off the inside of the near post and wrapped around the back of the net before flying out the far side.
“I had plenty of time,” Dumont said of his game-winning goal. “I tried to pick my spot. I thought it (was in) when I shot it. I’m glad replay showed that it went in.”
Initially ruled no-goal on the ice, the play continued until time expired in regulation. During the intermission between regulation and overtime, the play was reviewed and ruled a goal. Jordin Tootoo and Jason Arnott earned the assists on the play.
“We could see the net move.” Trotz said. “(Dumont) put it up there in a nice sweet spot. We pretty much knew (the replay would credit the goal).”
The game clock was then re-set to 37.5 seconds and the teams re-played the final moments of regulation. Jed Ortmeyer iced the game with an empty net tally at the 19:56 mark, assisted by Radek Bonk and Dan Hamhuis.
After a scoreless first period, the Predators opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 14:07 of the second period. David Legwand snapped a rebound over a sprawled Fredrik Norrena for his eight goal of the season. Ville Koistinen and Marek Zidlicky drew the assists on the play, Nashville’s sixth power-play goal in the last four games.
J.P. Dumont out skates Adam Foote for a loose puck during the third period. Dumont extended his point streak to four games on Sunday.
The sequence started with a Radulov shot from the wing to the left of the Blue Jackets net. The Predators controlled the rebound and worked the puck around the blueline to the opposite wing. Koistinen fired a second shot which was saved, but the rebound caromed to the bottom of the far side faceoff circle where Legwand was stationed all alone.
The Predators drew another power-play opportunity 19 seconds after Legwand’s goal and despite generating scoring chances, were unable to extend the lead.
Mason was solid in the first period, turning aside 11 Bue Jackets shots, including a Jason Chimera breakaway at the 11:50 mark and a glove save on a Dan Fritsche attempt with 2:55 remaining in the period.
The Predators out-shot the Blue Jackets 17-11 in the middle period and took a 1-0 lead into the third period. Nashville had a pair of quality scoring chances in the middle of the third period, but Norrena made a diving poke check to negate an Arnott partial breakaway and 30 seconds later made a glove save to again rob Arnott on a two-on-one snap shot from in close.
The Blue Jackets tied the game 1-1 on a Dan Fritsche wrap-around goal with 8:14 remaining in regulation. The Predators rallied after the goal and controlled much of the play for the remainder of the game.
Chris Mason makes one of his 30 saves on the evening.
The Predators now have two days off for the Christmas Break before returning to action on Wednesday night when they travel to Chicago to face the Central Division rival Blackhawks at the United Center. Start time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the game… “We got a real good effort from our top guys tonight. It was a real good complete game for us. We had good focus tonight. It’s a tough time of year to have good focus, especially for hockey players because we have so little time off for the holidays.”
Goaltender Chris Mason
On the game-winning goal… “I couldn’t tell if it went in from my end. I just crossed my fingers. It was big for us.”
On the play of the defense keeping the Blue Jackets primarily to the perimeter… “That’s the kind of game we have to play in order to win.”
Forward Jason Arnott
On the game-winning goal… “I had no idea. It went in and out so fast. I was just going to the net (on the play).
On the game… “We played more of a 60-minute game tonight than last night.”
On the game… “It was one of those games. Both goalies were outstanding tonight. It was huge to win this game going into the break.”
On the play of goaltender Chris Mason… “It was huge. He kept us in the game. He bounced back extremely well tonight.”
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