Columbus Blue Jackets defeat Nashville Predators, 3-2 in a Shootout
The Columbus Blue Jackets shocked a sold out Bridgestone Arena crowd defeating the Nashville Predators, 3-2 in a shootout. Columbus sent 17,113 Predator fans home in disappointment in their season opener on “#HockeyIsBack weekend”. Those who watched the game saw a different Blue Jackets team with much more confidence.
Saturday night’s game was about getting the rust off and getting back into the normal, daily habits. It was good the Predators were able to get at least a point, but when the second point is just so close, it hurts. The NHL is back and that is all that matters at the end of the day.
Entering the first period, the goal for each team was to get the rust off. It didn’t take long for the Nashville Predators at least, as Martin Erat scored 39 seconds into the game off a rush. Behind the net, Pekka Rinne game Sergei Kostitsyn an excellent pass along the wall to start the breakout. Kostitsyn passed to Erat cutting across the neutral zone, who’s shot from the blueline was able to blow by Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 1-0 Nashville.
The game started to pick up its usually physicality with Brandon Yip and Derek Dorsett getting into a scrum that sent both to the penalty box with minors at 6:49 in. Later, Dorsett was involved in another scrum, a fight this time, with Scott Hannan after a heavy, clean hit on Kevin Klein behind Rinne 13:31 in.
After Erat went to the penalty box for slashing at 4:46, the Blue Jackets went to work on the powerplay scoring their first goal of the game by a deflection from Fedor Tyutin, standing alone in front of Rinne. Great puck movement by Columbus allowed Tyutin to wind up a one timer that allowed Foligno to deflect past Rinne to tie the game up.
However, the Predators weren’t going to pack it in and wait to the intermission to regroup. Former New York Ranger Brandon Dubinsky received a roughing call, just moments after the Foligno goal. The Predators were able to capitalize as offensive defenseman Ryan Ellis slipped one past Bobrovsky to retake the lead. “There was quick puck movement on Erat’s unit. The goal wasn’t a pretty one but was able to get in the net,” said Ellis.
Sloppiness followed in the second period as the Predators were just not playing well. “We [weren’t] winning the battles, they [were],” said assistant coach Lane Lambert. Associate coach Peter Horachek though the same thing in saying, “We were sloppy. We weren’t doing the things we wanted to do. Our timing wasn’t good, and the battles aren’t good. They are coachable and was expected in a five day training camp.”
The Predators weren’t winning the battles along the boards, necessary to win games.
Another fight occurred after Jared Boll, notorious of being a goon, put a late and high hit on Craig Smith. Captain Shea Weber took exception to that and dropped the gloves with Boll at 9:53 in the second period. Of course, the Blue Jackets had a better trade off in getting the number one defenseman off the ice for five minutes.
Artem Anisimov tied the game up again for the Blue Jackets with his hard working goal out muscling Paul Gaustad. Anisimov was able to protect the puck using his body and backhanded the puck over the glove of Rinne at 12:05. “Columbus got the momentum after their goal and controlled the ending of the second period,” said Horachek.
The third period was the most even, of course because we wouldn’t have it any other way with the Predators putting their mark in the first and the Blue Jackets making a statement in the second. The Predators played their best towards the ending of the third where they created a few opportunities and had more possession of the puck.
Rinne had a dangerous third period, and for the entire game for a matter of fact, playing the puck when it wasn’t necessary and coming out of the net in dangerous situations. The Finnish goaltender seemed to be doing too much.
During the third period, Kevin Klein blocked a shot that hit off of his left arm. Klein went to the bench slowly and was checked out by the trainer once arrived. Hopefully it isn’t anything big.
Regulation ended with Nashville and Columbus tied at two apiece.
Just past the halfway point in overtime, Legwand gave a crashing Ellis a behind the back pass, but Bobrovsky held his post firm and was able to keep the puck out of the net. That was only chance the Predators had, but the Blue Jackets were able to mustard up one before overtime ended. With fifteen seconds remaining, defenseman Nikita Nikitin displayed his fancy stick work around the Nashville defense and tried to bank the puck off Rinne on the left post. Rinne was able to keep the puck from going in with his glove.
The game proceeded into the nerve racking shootout that went into six rounds. Nashville was going against a goaltender with a .480 save percentage in shootouts, which should be an easy victory.
Artem Anisimov scored in the second round for Columbus with a beautiful forehand, backhand goal over the shoulder of Rinne. David Legwand was able to keep the shootout going with his signature forehand, backhand as well, but over the left leg pad of Bobrovsky. Fans watched four other shooters not able to capitalize until Derek Brassard deked his way past the sprawling Rinne to force Craig Smith to score and continue the shootout. Smith’s forehand, backhand hit off the post and gave the Blue Jackets the victory over the Predators.
Line Up Report
#35 Pekka Rinne
#72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Predators Scratches: #7 D Jonathon Blum, #16 W Richard Clune and #64 D Victor Bartley (elbow)
Blue Jackets Scratches: #9 C Colton Gillies, #10 C Mark Letestu and #58 D David Savard
Fans Excited about NHL Returning; players, coaches see it: Hockey fans across the world were waiting for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to come in place so there would be a puck drop in the 2012-13 NHL season. That was finally solved and the lockout was over. NHL hockey was to be played in North America, once more.
Nashville Predators fans, players and members of the organization have been waiting for Saturday night against the Blue Jackets ever since the schedule came out. In a sold out Bridgestone Arena, the players gave the fans bonus hockey in an overtime and a shootout, in a way of saying “we’re sorry” in a competitive manner.
Trotz said, “The fans were outstanding. They were loud and having fun.” Ellis said, “These are some of the best fans in the league. There was a lot of gold out there. The 7th man was rocking tonight.” General Manager David Poile was glad the fans came out and sold out the Bridgestone Arena, he said in an interview on Fox Sports Tennessee.
The “mean and nasty” Horacek said, “What a great crowd.” The multi-million dollar man Shea Weber told the fans after the game, “You were awesome. Our jump and fire came from [you].”
Sloppiness: If there was one word to summarize this game, it was “sloppiness”. Without a doubt, it was expected with only five days of training camp for the Predators, but not to a magnitude like it was Saturday night.
“Both sides were rusty,” said Weber. “We have a lot of things to fix and will continue to improve as the season goes along.”
At least four times the Predators mismanaged or mishandled the puck, whether it was in their own zone, the neutral zone or the offensive zone. Terrible breakout passing from the boards to the middle of the ice caused turnovers that were luckily not costly.
“We were really sloppy [in the first period],” said Trotz. “We were not detailed and too cute. We were bad entering the neutral zone.”
The next game against the St. Louis Blues will be a tough test. In order to win, the Predators will have to play sixty plus minutes of hockey like the first twenty minutes of Saturday night, without all the mistakes.
They Aren’t Who We Thought They Were: The Columbus Blue Jackets are not a bad team. Last year, the Blue Jackets finished dead last in the NHL and without the number one draft pick. They were a laughing stock around the NHL.
Saturday night, Columbus showed the NHL that they aren’t a slouch anymore. They have a solid lineup with great defense, built to score goals by committee. Sound similar? Yes, assistant coach Dan Hinote said in an interview before the game they are trying to model themselves after the Nashville Predators.
Their roster clearly shows the similarity.
These Blue Jackets are a good team with good talent and have absolutely zero pressure to perform well this season. This is a recipe of success and danger for the other Western Conference teams written all over it.
Goals and Assists
NSH 1-0: Martin Erat – Kostitsyn and Rinne at 0:39 in the 1st
Tied 1-1: PP Nick Foligno – Tyutin and Prospal at 16:08 in the 1st
NSH 2-1: PP Ryan Ellis – Kostitsyn (2) and Hornqvist at 17:55 in the 1st
Tied 2-2: Artem Anisimov – Tyutin (2) and Nikitin at 12:05 in the 2nd
Players to Watch:
#18 RJ Umberger
#42 Artem Anisimov
#71 Nick Foligno
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Artem Anisimov: Goal and Shootout Goal
2. Sergei Kostitsyn: Two Assists
3. Fedor Tyutin: Two Assists