The Nashville Predators may have reached their peak in frustrating the fans of Smashville in the first 58 minutes of their game in Columbus at Nationwide Arena on Thursday night and then shocked everyone, showing life at the end of the contest.
After a lackadaisical effort for most of the game, the Predators came alive to score two goals with the goalie pulled (Patric Hornqvist and Sergei Kostitsyn) in the final 1:36 of the game to force overtime where Colin Wilson scored the game-winning goal 1:45 into the extra period to give the Predators their most improbable win in several years with a final score of 4-3.
Columbus had dominated the Predators with goals from Jeff Carter and Antoine Vermette in the first two periods. At the beginning of the third period, Derek Dorsett embarrassed the Predator defense when he skated untouched from the red-line to the net to give the Jackets a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead.
Then the Predators woke up and scored three goals in 3:21 to bring home a desperately needed win on the road. Mike Fisher had the early goal for the Preds. Marty Erat and Ryan Suter each had a pair of helpers in the final three goals.
Pekka Rinne picked up the win, stopping 21 of 24 Columbus shots while Curtis Sanford yielded four goals on 22 Nashville shots to be the hard-luck loser.
The Predators returned home after the game and will play the Anaheim Ducks at the Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.First Period...
Jon Blum, Chris Mueller, and Jordin Tootoo were the scratches for the Predators. Francis Bouillon was a surprise starter after missing five games with a sore groin. It was Blum's first scratch of the season.
The game was officially Brian McGrattan's 200th game of his NHL career when he took the ice at 2:29 into the game.
Rinne had his first wake-up call of the game at 4:47 when Antoine Vermette got behind the Preds defense and drove for the net.
There was a major controversy at when the officials totally missed the fact that Columbus scored at 7:18 when Carter hit the back crossbar and it initially went undetected. Thirty-eight seconds had to be put back on the clock after a stoppage as play continued after the score.
At 16:04, Bouillon and Derek Dorsett mixed it up in a short skirmish after Bouillon finished his check in the corner.
Marty Erat had the Preds first shot at 1:14. The second shot did not come until 17:31 when Matt Halischuk got off a shot.
Back to back shots from Colin Wilson and David Legwand at 18:18 may have actually put the puck in the net after the whistle blew.
The period was probably one of the weakest offensive efforts by the Predators this season. Not only was Halischuk's shot the second of the period, it was only the third Corsi effort with 2:29 remaining.1st Period Goals Shots Corsi PIMs Faceoffs Predators
0 4 6 1-5:00 8-10 44%Jackets
1 10 17 1-5:00 10-8 56%Second Period...
The Predators looked much better starting the middle stanza. All the things that they weren't doing in the opening period appeared to be coming together after the intermission but they never seemed to be completely in sync.
Vermette made it 2-0 Jackets at 10:49, when a broken play got the Predator defense out of kilter and exposed Rinne who made the initial save on a shot from Jared Boll but failed to stop the Vermette shot on the rebound.
At 13:10, immediately after a Blue Jacket time out, Fisher picked up a loose puck to the left of Sanford and flipped it into the net to close the gap to 2-1.2nd Period Goals Shots Corsi PIMs Faceoffs Predators
1 7 12 0-0:00 9-12 43%Jackets
1 8 19 0-0:00 12-9 57%Third Period...
Dorsett totally split the Predator defense and broke the Preds back when he took a pass from Mark Methot at the center ice red line and drove straight to the net and buried the puck to give the Jackets a 3-1 lead at 1:24.
The first power play of the game occurred at 15:51 when Bouillon hooked Rick Nash who was driving toward the net.
The Preds lifted Rinne at 18:17 to bring in an extra attacker. The Preds converted on the goalie pull when Hornqvist wristed the puck into the net with 1:24 left to bring the Preds within one at 3-2.
The officials really missed a penalty when Hornqvist was cross-checked into the boards after he scored. A make-up call came at when Sammy Paulson was sent to the box for cross-checking Shea Weber on a much less obvious offense.
The Predators were playing desperate hockey in the last minute and the unbelievable happened when Kostitsyn deflected the puck into the net with 13 seconds left to force overtime.3rd Period Goals Shots Corsi PIMs Faceoffs Predators
0 10 16 1-2:00 14-7 67%Jackets
0 6 9 1-2:00 7-14 33%Overtime...
On the only shot in overtime, Wilson buried the puck past Sanford off of a perfect pass from Erat to win the came at 1:45 in overtime.Overtime Goals Shots Corsi PIMs Faceoffs Predators
1 1 1 0-0:00 0-1 0%Jackets
0 0 0 0-0:00 1-0 100%Final...Final Goals Shots Corsi PIMs Faceoffs Predators
4 24 37 2-7:00 31-30 51%Jackets
4 22 45 2-7:00 30-31 49%
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass