Predators’ shootout victory extends Jackets’ winless streak
Feb 22, 2020
Rocco Grimaldi scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Nashville goalie Juuse Saros saved 40 of 43 shots during regulation and overtime, then stopped six of eight shots during the extended shootout to earn his 27th victory of the season.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Predators, who moved within a point of the final Western Conference wild-card slot.
Columbus is 0-3-5 over its last eight games, marking the team's longest winless streak since the 2015-16 season. The ill-timed slump has dropped the Blue Jackets under the playoff line, as the Carolina Hurricanes pulled ahead of Columbus on a tiebreaker for the final Eastern Conference wild-card position.
The Blue Jackets lead the NHL with 14 non-regulation losses this season, with five of those results coming during their current eight-game winless drought.
It took Ryan Johansen just 33 seconds to convert a rebound for the opening goal, kicking off a dominant first period for Nashville.
The Predators outshot Columbus 17-9 in the first period, and added another goal at the 10:31 mark. Mikael Granlund and Filip Forsberg combined on an impressive passing play that led to Granlund's 15th goal of the season.
In the second period, the Blue Jackets got an early goal from Boone Jenner at the 1:00 mark, then enjoyed their own one-sided period. Columbus had a 20-11 shots advantage and scored three goals in the frame, with Eric Robinson and Emil Bemstrom following up on Jenner's quick strike.
Bemstrom's power-play goal snapped a 15-game scoring drought for the forward, and also breathed life into the Columbus special-teams unit. It was only the third goal for the Jackets in 28 power-play chances, stretching over the last 12 games.
Nashville's tough period was salvaged by Colton Sissons' equalizing goal at the 18:57 mark.
Forsberg recorded two assists for his 10th multi-point game of the season.
The Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins saved 33 of 36 shots, plus five more during the shootout. Despite the strong performance, the rookie goalie dropped to 0-3-4 over his last seven starts.
--Field Level Media