Martin Erat scored a goal and an assist and Ryan Suter dished out a pair of assists in the preseason openers for both veterans, a 4-3 Predators loss at Columbus on Friday night. Shea Weber and Geoff Peters scored the other Nashville goals. The teams will rematch tomorrow night in Nashville (7 pm CT start).
The Predators took the early lead on Erat’s goal 6:02 into the game. The play started with an offensive zone faceoff win to create a shot through traffic. Erat picked up the rebound and shuffled a shot five-hole for his first of the preseason. Suter and Ryan Jones picked up the assists on the play, his second point in as many preseason games. Jones, who also recorded a goal and an assist in two rookie game appearances, has recorded a point in all four exhibition games he’s played in for the Preds.
RJ Umberger tied the score six minutes later off a broken play, but Weber netted a power-play goal late in the period to give the Preds a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. With Nashville on a five-on-three power-play, the Predators worked the puck quickly around the perimeter, setting up a one-timer for Rich Peverley. Peverley’s drive just missed short side, but Nashville retained possession of the puck and quickly worked it back to Weber for a second one-timer. Weber’s blast eluded Blue Jackets netminder Pascal Leclaire for his first of the preseason.
Columbus gained the lead with a pair of goals 0:39 apart in the second period, the first a power-play tally from Jakub Vorachek followed by an even strength score by Andrew Murray. Kristian Huselius converted a three-on-two late in the third period to make the score 4-2 Columbus.
Jordin Tootoo set up Geoff Peters for a goal with 1:28 remaining in regulation to close out the scoring. The Preds pulled the goaltender for the extra attacker and created a pair of quality scoring opportunities before drawing a power-play with 21 seconds remaining, but Nashville was unable to net the equalizer.
Dan Ellis started in net for the Predators with 18 save on 21 shots in two periods of action. Drew MacIntyre played the third period, turning aside three of the four shots he faced, including a Rich Nash breakaway in the middle of the period. Leclaire went the distance in net for Columbus, stopping 18-of-21 for the win.
Weber skated a game-high 24:29 of ice time, including 11:45 of power-play or shorthanded action ... Suter and Kevin Klein also surpassed the 20:00 mark for the Predators ... Rich Peverley led all Preds forwards with 19:40 of ice time ... Triston Grant led the team with four hits ... Greg Zanon led the team with four blocked shots ... Scott Nichol, Zanon, Klein, and Joel Ward all saw over 5:00 of shorthanded ice time.