|CBJ||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|NSH||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
Alexander Radulov scored 26 seconds into the game en route to a 4-2 Predators win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Sommet Center on Thursday night. In the process the Predators closed out the month of January with an 8-3-3 mark to climb from 13th place in the conference standings when the month started into a tie for number eight seed in the Western Conference playoff race.
|Highlights: Predators 4,
Blue Jackets 2
Nashville has earned a point in 14 consecutive games against the Blue Jackets, including 13 wins and a shootout loss. The Colorado Avalanche are the only team with a longer active streak of dominance over one opponent with a point in 15 straight games against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Radulov and J.P. Dumont wasted little time to extend their scoring streaks, combining on the game's opening goal. The scoring line exhibited solid defense and hard work to create the first Predators score. Greg de Vries took a hard hit behind his own net, but still moved the puck along the boards, where Dumont was able to chip it out of the defensive zone. Radulov's hustle on the forecheck negated icing and forced the Blue Jackets to quickly rim the puck along the boards behind the net. Jason Arnott held the puck in the offensive zone along the mid-boards, absorbing another Blue Jackets hit in the process. Radulov passed the loose puck to Dan Hamhuis at the point. Hamhuis fired a diagonal cross-ice pass to Dumont for a touch pass to Radulov in the slot, producing a 1-0 lead.
Radulov has goals in five consecutive games, a new career-long and just one game shy of the franchise mark set by Dumont earlier this season. Dumont dished out a pair of assists to extend his scoring streak to 16 games with a point, the longest active streak in the league.
Arnott's 18th goal of the season, a power-play tally midway through the opening period expanded the Nashville lead. Martin Erat curled into the face-off circle and passed the puck to Dumont along the goal line to the left of Blue Jackets netminder Pascal Leclaire. Dumont quickly redirected the puck to Arnott in the slot for a 2-0 Predators lead. Arnott extended his scoring streak to eight consecutive games with a point, one game shy of his career-best.
The Predators drew a 4:00 power-play later in the first period, but were unable to convert.
Columbus halved the lead 34 seconds into the second period on Nikolai Zherdev's 21st goal of the season. With the Blue Jackets on the back-end of a power-play carried over from the end of the first period, Zherdev curled behind the Nashville net and snapped a sharp angle wrist shot from the bottom of the face-off circle.
Nashville re-gained a two-goal advantage at the 8:59 mark of the middle frame. Darcy Hordichuk, in his first game back from injury, started the play with a behind-the-back flip pass at the redline to Vernon Fiddler streaking down the left wing. Fiddler snapped a shot from the face-off dot over Leclaire's glove-side shoulder for his seventh goal of the season. Hamhuis picked up the other assist on the play for his fifth multi-point game of the season.
The team's traded even-strength goals 2:59 apart down the back half of the period. Dan Fritche beat Chris Mason five-hole for his eighth of the campaign at the 11:09 mark and Scott Nichol responded with a backhand off his own rebound, Nichol's fifth point in the last six games.
The teams played to an exciting but scoreless third period that featured a combined 21 shots on goal, several big hits, and an entertaining fight between Hordichuk and Jared Boll.
Chris Mason stopped 31-of-33 shots for his 15th win and ninth 30-save performance of the season.
Post-Game Notes: The Predators improved to 10-5-4 against Central Division opponents this season ... Nashville has scored a power-play goal in its last five home games, converting on 6-of-29 opportunities during that span (20.7%) ... Mason finished the month of January with a 5-2 record, 1.87 goals against average, and .931 save percentage ... Nichol picked up his eighth point of the 2008 calendar year with his second period goal, matching his point total from the entire 2007 calendar year.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the feel of the game tonight ... "I thought we came out strong tonight and it was a great way to start the game with our first goal in the first 26 seconds. It was a great assist by J.P. Dumont to Radulov and it helped give our team momentum and was beneficial to us. I thought we came out and carried the first period which was a real key for us tonight."
On the Preds standings after this game in the Western Conference ... " We won’t dwell on it since we have a big game coming up this weekend – we need to focus on that. We can enjoy this win tonight for about an hour and then need to refocus our thoughts to Phoenix."
On Legwand and Hordichuk playing tonight ... "Tonight I thought Legwand was really good coming back into the game. I wasn’t quite sure how well he’d do since he’d missed some time, but I thought he skated really well. Legwand and Hordichuk had an impact and controlled the game and were a great benefit to our team tonight. We got down low on both ends of the ice and Hordichuk was able to draw some penalties because he was getting pucks deep and they couldn’t hold him up From that stand point, it was a solid return."
Predators forward J.P. Dumont
On the game ... "We played some good hockey before the all-star break and we knew that coming out this would be a long stretch but we’ve got to have the mentality that we are going to win every night. The last game in Boston, after the break we came out flat a little bit but I think we played well in the second and the third. Tonight we have a great start."
On the importance of the win ... "It was great especially against a team that beat us the last time we played them. We had their number for a while and then they beat us last game and we just tried to make sure that we cut their cut their (streak) kind of quick and that’s what we did. We had a great first period. Even after they scored a goal we didn’t look back, we didn’t sit back and we scored another one. Everyone played really well tonight. We had a good effort from everyone."
Predators goaltender Chris Mason
On controlling their own destiny ... "We played awesome tonight, I think. We knew it was going to be a big game for both teams. Especially we have a lot of games coming up in our building that we have to win. Especially the teams that are right around us. Its going to be a tough fight to the end."
On getting an early lead ... "When you score that quick there’s not really any time to relax. They have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net. It’s a good feeling when you get on the board first. And you could tell that we were buzzing around and playing pretty well. We stayed disciplined most of the night. It was a great game."
|Alexander Radulov (19) ASST: J-P Dumont (26), Dan Hamhuis (16)|
1 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Jason Arnott (18) ASST: J-P Dumont (27), Martin Erat (23)|
2 - 0 NSH
|PPG - Nikolay Zherdev (21) ASST: Michael Peca (17)|
2 - 1 NSH
|Vernon Fiddler (7) ASST: Darcy Hordichuk (1), Dan Hamhuis (17)|
3 - 1 NSH
|Dan Fritsche (8) ASST: Manny Malhotra (10), Rostislav Klesla (8)|
3 - 2 NSH
|Scott Nichol (6) ASST: Jerred Smithson (8)|
4 - 2 NSH
|Ryan Suter Hooking against Manny Malhotra|
|Jared Boll Holding against Dan Hamhuis|
|Gilbert Brule Hooking against Radek Bonk|
|Adam Foote Interference against Darcy Hordichuk|
|Adam Foote Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Dan Hamhuis Interference against Michael Peca|
|Jiri Novotny Boarding against Jerred Smithson|
|Rostislav Klesla Holding against J-P Dumont|
|Adam Foote Holding against Alexander Radulov|
|David Legwand Holding against Gilbert Brule|
|Darcy Hordichuk Fighting (maj) against Jared Boll|
|Jared Boll Fighting (maj) against Darcy Hordichuk|
|Ole-Kristian Tollefsen Unsportsmanlike conduct against Marek Zidlicky|
|Marek Zidlicky Unsportsmanlike conduct against Ole-Kristian Tollefsen|
|SA: 8||TOI: 18:50|
|Saves: 8||EV: 8 - 8|
|PIM: 0||PP: 0 - 0|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 23||TOI: 40:00|
|Saves: 19||EV: 6 - 9|
|PIM: 0||PP: 13 - 14|
|SV%: .826||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 33||TOI: 59:48|
|Saves: 31||EV: 28 - 29|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .939||SH: 0 - 0|