The Nashville Predators defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets by a 3-2 score on Friday night, and continued their dominance against them.
Nashville got goals from Ryan Suter, Craig Smith and Matt Halischuk. The Blue Jackets got goals from Vinny Prospal and Rick Nash, but weren't able to get contributions from the other three lines.
Pekka Rinne was brilliant for the Predators, stopping 32 out of 34 shots. He had been having problems with the flu going into the game, but played a strong game and helped keep the Preds on top.
Both teams got plenty of chances during the 1st period, but were unable to capitalize. Nashville survived the initial energy from the crowd, and from the Blue Jackets, in the first period.
Suter put the Preds on the board in the 2nd period when he converted on a pass from Sergei Kostitsyn. Prospal scored for Columbus when he drove to the net and put home the loose puck off of a Jeff Carter shot.
Smith scored his first career NHL goal in the 2nd period for the Predators. The puck got loose in the crease, and Smith came swooping from behind the net and backhanded the puck into the net to put the Preds up 2-1.
The Preds came out in the 3rd period and struck quickly. Cal O'Reilly delivered a beautiful backhand saucer pass in front of the net to Halischuk for the goal. Nash would score later on in the 3rd period, but it wasn't enough for the Blue Jackets.
Nashville now is 1-0-0 on the year, and travels to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Saturday night. It will be a crucial game, and it could end up making a difference in playoff positioning in April.
Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Ryan Suter(NSH)
2. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
3. Craig Smith(NSH)
Actual 3 stars of the game:
1. Pekka Rinne(NSH)
2. Jeff Carter(CBJ)
3. Rick Nash(CBJ)