Jackets win game, but not berth

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 28, 2013
Jack Johnson scored the go-ahead goal with 4:48 left and the Columbus Blue Jackets capped a remarkable turnaround with a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday. But despite that win, Columbus was eliminated from the playoff race when the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche later on Saturday to earn the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Coming into the night, the Blue Jackets were tied for eighth in the West with Minnesota, each with 53 points. Detroit beat Dallas on Saturday and clinched the No. 7 seed. The Blue Jackets were on the short end of tiebreakers against both the Wild and Red Wings. Billed as the biggest regular-season game in franchise history, the Blue Jackets were shut out by Chris Mason before scoring three times in the third period to go 8-1-0 in their final nine -- all with the specter of a playoff spot hanging over them. Brandon Dubinsky tied it early in the period and Cam Atkinson added an empty-netter. Sergei Bobrovsky, a contender for the Vezina Trophy given to the NHL's top goaltender, made 19 stops. Shea Weber had the goal for the Predators, who threw a scare into the Blue Jackets but finished 1-9-1 in their last 11. Atkinson helped set up the decisive goal by playing keep-away with the puck before feeding Johnson at the left goal line. Johnson skated in and backhanded a centering pass that appeared to go in off the stick of Mason, who had been brilliant all night. It set off a wild celebration before a capacity crowd, which stood and cheered for most of the final period. The Blue Jackets finally pulled even midway through the third. Vinny Prospal skated with the puck toward the net from the left corner and slid a pass to Marian Gaborik, who fed Dubinsky. He made a nice move before netting a backhand for his second of the season with 9:51 left in the period. Mason, making just his sixth start of the season, stopped 45 shots. It was a solid outing for the Predators. First-string goalie Pekka Rinne was held out for the second game in a row with an undisclosed injury -- one of several players hurting for Nashville. The goaltenders dominated the opening period, with Mason making several sterling saves early and Bobrovsky standing tall during one particular flurry. Mason stopped Gaborik on three shots -- any of which could easily have ended up in the net. Bobrovsky had three saves in one charge from close range. The Predators had a goal disallowed at the eight-minute mark when Craig Smith scored. Upon review it was determined he kicked the puck in. But Nashville broke through in the second period. David Legwand controlled the puck and left a drop pass for Weber, who carried it unobstructed to the right dot before firing a hard wrister that slipped between Bobrovsky's leg pads. It was Weber's ninth of the season. That set the stage for the wild third period. Three hours before the game, hundreds of fans were lined up for tickets. They'd been there for most of the day, sitting in the sunshine on a warm day, laughing and talking. Several thousand people milled around the main entrance to Nationwide Arena on a sunny and warm spring day, soaking up the atmosphere. The Blue Jackets are riding the hottest streak in franchise history -- one that has transformed a team used to playing meaningless games after the All-Star break into a club that has continually defied the odds to win big games over the past two months. They were 5-12-2 -- the worst record in the NHL -- in late February. Then came a record 12-game points streak (8-0-4) that turned things around as Bobrovsky began to put up stellar numbers. They battled to get into the conversation for a playoff spot, but most thought their undoing would be a grueling six-game road trip that preceded the game with Nashville. But on that sojourn over four time zones and 12 days they went 5-1-0 to set themselves up for the drama of the final game, running their record to 19-5-5 over the past two months. Notes: It was the final meeting between the two teams as Central Division rivals. They've had a history of chippy games over the years. ... Nashville coach Barry Trotz was selected as an assistant for Team Canada at the World Championships. ... The Blue Jackets were 12-1-3 in their past 15 home games. ... Columbus C Artem Anisimov, who missed the past five games with a head/neck injury, returned to the lineup.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker