Thursday, December 22, 2011

Second period resilience proves to be key in another Preds comeback win

You can pretty much bet that games between the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets will be decided by one goal. However, not many people could have predicted how this game would play out on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators came back from a 4-1 deficit and defeated the Blue Jackets by a 6-5 score in regulation.

Nashville drew first blood in the first period when Mike Fisher tallied on the power play. Sergei Kostitsyn made a terrific pass through traffic in front of the net and Fisher converted on a wide open net.

Columbus would respond just 27 seconds later when Jeff Carter tied it at one. After that goal, Brian McGrattan laid a big hit on Jared Boll, which got him a five minute interference major and a game misconduct.

The Blue Jackets would respond with a flurry of power play goals. They scored three consecutive goals on the power play to build a 4-1 lead in the first period. Carter scored two of the power play goals, which gave him a hat trick in the first period. Ryan Johansen was the other goal scorer for the Blue Jackets.

Nashville would begin their comeback in the second period. Patric Hornqvist got the ball rolling at 5:28 of the second period when he scored from the crease on a wide open net. Shea Weber made a great pass that fooled Curtis Sanford, and allowed Hornqvist to deposit the puck in the open net. Nick Spaling and Roman Josi also tallied in the second period, while Johansen added another goal for Columbus on the power play. The Blue Jackets led 5-4 after the second period, but the momentum was completely in favor of the Predators.

"The second period was a big period for us. We were down three to start the period and after we were just down one goal. Anything can happen. I think we were really playing good in the second, and we really stayed with it the whole time," Hornqvist said.

In the third period, the Predators were able to complete another late-game comeback. David Legwand tied the game at five on the power play at 16:12 of the period, which sent the sold-out crowd into a frenzy. Martin Erat scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway with 8.4 seconds remaining in the third period.

It was another resilient effort by a Predators team that doesn't seem to be affected by any lead the opposition may have. They seem to always find a way to claw back into the game, and this game was another prime example of that.

"We're never out of a game. That's what this group is all about. We work hard for each other and we need everyone," Hornqvist said.

Nashville will have little time to celebrate this dramatic win. They will take on the Dallas Stars on Friday night at American Airlines Arena.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Martin Erat(NSH)
2. Jeff Carter(CBJ)
3. Shea Weber(NSH)

Official 3 Stars of the game:
1. Martin Erat(NSH)
2. Jeff Carter(CBJ)
3. David Legwand(NSH)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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